India has struck a balance between handling feistiness in Ukraine and protecting the country’s own interests against the backdrop of fuel and food shortages, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday.
By the external affairs minister The situation of Ukraine is compared to the Mahabharata which shows life is very complex, and that not all choices are black and white, he said that India had adopted the “right course” since the crisis began in February. “The most urgent issue…is to prevent hostilities from escalating to a level where it only does harm,” he said.
Like Lord Krishna, India has done everything to prevent war and to advocate a return to dialogue and diplomacy, he said. India also has to manage its historical and strategic interests that are at stake, as well as larger issues flowing out of the Ukraine crisis, such as fuel, food and fertiliser shortages, he added.
“When the global [citizen] is very deeply impacted by what is happening in a conflict, there the more sagacious [and] sober voices need to speak,” he said, At the same time, India has to do what it has to do to protect its interests, he said.
While Addressing a discussion on the book ‘Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery’ at Delhi University, Jaishankar said greater integration within South Asia can only happen if India takes the lead. Other countries in the region are looking up to India to take the lead and put up the resources for it, he added.
“I believe, and I know this is the prime minister’s conviction very strongly, the initiative [and] the responsibility of actually creating a region in South Asia rests a lot with us. If we take the initiative, if we push it, it will happen. If we don’t, it won’t happen. Obviously, we need the others, that goes without saying,” he said.
Other countries in South Asia are looking towards India “to make a move” and to “put up the resources”, he said. India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is aimed at treating the region differently. “Don’t be reciprocal, you’re the bigger guy, you should be the large-hearted guy, you should be generous,” he said.