As External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar pointed out on Thursday, India was ready to do whatever it could to facilitate the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. As the two countries intensified their fighting near Ukraine’s highly sensitive nuclear power plant, India pressed Moscow to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
During a lengthy interaction with Simon Bridges, the CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber, Jaishankar, who is visiting New Zealand for the first time as the External Affairs Minister, stated it is natural for different countries and regions to react differently when it comes to Ukraine.
He stated that despite their differences, people will view it from their perspectives, immediate interests, historical experience, and fears. “To me, the diversities of the world, which are quite evident, will also naturally lead to a differential response, and I would not disrespect the position of other countries as I can see many of them are coming from their perception of threat, their anxiety, and their equities in Ukraine,” he stated.
Jaishnakar stated that in this situation, India would do whatever it could to protect Indian interests as well as the interests of the world at large. As a member of the United Nations at the time, I was particularly concerned about the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because some fighting was taking place in close proximity to it.
“We were requested to press the Russians on this issue. At various points in time, we have faced other concerns, either from different countries or the United Nations. At this point, we would be willing to do whatever we can do,” Jaishankar stated.
In southeastern Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station is Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.
“If we stand up and voice our views, countries won’t disregard that; and we were visible in my Prime Minister’s meeting with President (Vladimir) Putin,” he said, referring to the meeting between the two top leaders on September 16 in Asthana at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
He also discussed India’s desire to become a permanent member of UN Security Council, saying that the most pressing issues of our time can’t be solved by just two, three or even five nations.
“And as we think about the reforms, we see a desire to become a permanent member of the security council. It’s also because we have different perspectives and voice the needs and aspirations of a diverse group of countries,” he said.
He addressed climate change as well as the Covid pandemic in order to highlight his discriminatory policy.
“If you are travelling today, especially in South Africa, there is an intense feeling of anger over how they were treated during the epidemic. And that same sense of anger that the world isn’t paying attention to, I can see with regard to issues such as fuel and food,” he said.
He stated that there is a perception they are unable to cope with the necessities of daily life is not appreciated by the larger, more established and powerful nations all over the world.
“We tend to see Ukraine in some way as a sort of East-West problem. I believe there is an north-south component to the results that result from Ukraine. Ukraine dispute,” he added.
“For us, when we look at the new global architecture, we strongly believe that India should be part of the newly reformed security council. With the same force, we also say that the whole continent of Africa has been left out. Latin America has been excluded,” he added.
There is a place where the system needs to take care not to the powerful in case there’s increased credibility, Jaishankar added.
There is a bigger problem here; it is an element of fairness and justice.
Concerning ties between the United States and New Zealand, he said: “Opportunities to work together are far more realistic and practical.” “We need to look at each other objectively, creatively and positively and what are the strengths we should play and try to build a stronger relationship,” he added.
He stated that one of the areas to be focused on in bilateral relations that he has with New Zealand would be business.
Jaishankar stated that stronger business ties are not required to be a part of any FTA (Free Trade Agreement) and gave an example from the European Union, the US and China, together with which India has no FTA.
How can we increase our collaboration with our clients is the most pressing issue, Jaishankar said.
He also said that additional areas of cooperation that could be a part of the collaboration with New Zealand would be education and digital collaboration in security, climate, and the overall well-being of the area.
He added that the world had witnessed numerous stress tests since the year the year 2019, including COVID as well as, the Afghanistan crisis, and it’s the Ukraine conflict.
Each one, on top of the other, has placed the world under a lot of pressure, the man said.
“It is very important today to recognise that and understand that there are a lot of countries who are looking at the future and deeply worried about their ability to get fuel, food, fertiliser or finances for the people,” the minister added.
“It is a challenging time and in times of difficulty it is equally essential that those with the abilities to contribute to the solution must step up and take action. Every one of us might not be able to transform the world alone. However, when we come together, we are able to multiply our capabilities of each one,” he said.
A prime example was presented in the COVID-19 epidemic, he stated.
“We were one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines and even when we were vaccinating our own people, we took a conscious decision that we would help others and prioritised countries that we helped that would not have fair access to vaccines,” he said.
“In this region, we gave vaccines to Fiji and the Solomon islands,” the man said.
“We need a kind of collaborative neighbourhood watch approach to the region (Indo-Pacific) where those who are comfortable with each other are prepared to work for the betterment of the region,” said the official. Declared.
Answering a question on an existence of a binary view of all of the globe and India’s role on the matter, Jaishankar believed that the binary view was “outdated”.
“And truthfully speaking, in defense of the US, they no longer hold the dual view. One of the major changes we’ve witnessed in recent years is that the US is now more open to working with other countries that aren’t part of the traditional alliances or treaty relationship,” he said.
“So, you have mechanisms like the QUAD, which involves some traditional allies of the US but also countries like India, which has historically stayed away from alliances and treaties,” said the official. Said.
“My sense why we should put the binary framework to rest is if you look today at the distribution of power if you look at the major economies of the world… I would argue that there has been a much flatter distribution of power in the last 30-40 years,” he added.