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We Cannot Please Other Nations By Being ‘Pale Imitation’ Of What They Are: India

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Mumbai: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said India is at a juncture of 75 years of its independence where it should leave behind the idea that it needs to seek approval from other quarters; that others ‘define’ India.

“We have to be confident about who we are. I think it’s better to engage with the world for who we are, rather than try to please the world for who they are. The idea that others make us happy Let’s define, you know that somewhere we need to get approval from other quarters, I think, this is an era that we need to leave behind,” the minister said.

The remarks come amid India’s much-talked-about stand on Russia, which is continuing its attack on Ukraine. While India condemned the violence and urged a ceasefire, it continued its historic trading ties with Russia.

In the coming 25 years, the External Affairs Minister said that he expects India to become more international in terms of commitment, role and responsibilities.

“I met a fellow foreign minister this morning, who told me that Gujarat is ahead of globalization. In fact, he said that Gujarat doesn’t need globalization… I guess I would kind of hope that the next 25 Over years India has been at the forefront of the right kind of globalization, more decentralized, fairer, what works for all is not a weapon,” said the External Affairs Minister.

Talking about what India should not do, Jaishankar said, “We should not look at the world with a sense of entitlement. We need to earn our place in the world which to a certain extent comes to the issue of how the world benefits from the growth of India. We need to demonstrate that.”

On the Russia-Ukraine situation, Jaishankar said, “The best way forward is to stop fighting, talk and focus on finding ways to move forward. We think it is our choice to take it forward.”

On what India could have done better in the last 75 years, the External Affairs Minister highlighted three things: first, attention to social indicators, which he said were not paid; Two, the focus on manufacturing and third, the importance of tight security. “This is not a political criticism of the past,” the foreign minister said.

“If today there is a sense in the world that democracy is, in some form, the future, then a large part of it is due to India and the choices India made and stuck within very different situations. There was a time when, in this part of the world, we were the only democracy,” Jaishankar said.

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