New Delhi, April 26
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday countered criticism of India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying the Western powers have been oblivious to the pressing challenges facing Asia, including last year’s events in Afghanistan and the continuous pressure on the rules-based order in the region.
You spoke about Ukraine. I remember what happened in Afghanistan where an entire civil society was thrown under the bus by the world. — S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister
China a competitor, challenge: UK
- British Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Tony Radakin has said his country sees Russia as an acute threat, but China as a competitor and a challenge.
- Asked if Ukraine war is to China’s advantage as the West is distracted, Radakin said, “We have to be really careful on these conclusions. When you transgress international rules, it leads to all kinds of consequences.”
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, Jaishankar said the crisis in Ukraine was in fact a “wake-up call” for Europe to start looking at Asia, a part of the world with unsettled boundaries, terrorism, and continuous challenges to the rules-based order.
The EAM fended off European criticism of New Delhi’s position by drawing attention to Western doublespeak. “You spoke about Ukraine. I remember less than a year ago what happened in Afghanistan where an entire civil society was thrown under the bus by the world… Please show me which part of the rules-based order justified what the world did there,” Jaishankar said, while responding to a query by Norway Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.
“When the rules-based order was in danger in Asia, the advice we got from Europe was to do more trade. At least we are not advising you that,” he added in a reference to China’s aggression on India’s land borders and in the South China Sea.
“Quite honestly, we have been hearing for the last two months a lot of arguments from Europe saying things are happening in Europe and Asia should worry about it because this could happen in Asia,” Jaishankar said.
“Things have been happening in Asia for the last 10 years. Europe may not have looked at it. So this could be a wake-up call for Europe to also look at Asia,” he said.
Asked by Luxembourg Foreign Minister about Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Delhi, Jaishankar pointed out that he’s engaged “many of you” in Europe, “more than he has engaged us”, stating that “there will be no winners in this conflict”.
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