India’s rise will evoke its own reactions and responses, and there will be attempts to dilute the country’s influence and limit its interests, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday. The External Affairs Minister, alluding to Pakistan, said India continues to face “perennial problems” like cross-border terrorism and the national security challenges would be different in times to come.
Delivering the second Manohar Parrikar memorial lecture, Mr Jaishankar said as India expands its global interests and reach, there is an even more compelling case to focus on its hard power.
“The national security challenges faced by this rising India are obviously also going to be different. At one level, some of the more perennial problems associated with our national consolidation and development will continue,” Mr Jaishankar said. “In particular, a long-standing political rivalry is today expressed as sustained cross-border terrorism by a neighbour,” he said.
The External Affairs Minister made a mention of the attack on parliament 19 years ago, adding that “in some other cases, activities of terrorist groups need to be continuously monitored and neutralised.”
“But the world is a competitive place and India’s rise will evoke its own reactions and responses. There will be attempts to dilute our influence and limit our interests. Some of this contestation can be directly in the security domain; others could be reflected in economics, connectivity and even in societal contacts,” Mr Jaishankar said.
He emphasised on having greater integration and convergence between the foreign and military policies. “There are really very few major states that still have unsettled borders to the extent that we do. Of equal relevance is the very unique challenge that we face of years of intense terrorism inflicted on us by a neighbour. We also cannot disregard attempts to undermine our national integrity and unity,” he said.
“And over and above these exceptional factors, there are the daily security challenges of long borders and large sea spaces. The thinking and planning of a polity that operates in such an uncertain environment naturally should give primacy to hard security,” Mr Jaishankar said.
On India’s growing global stature, Mr Jaishankar said the country’s “relationship with the world” cannot be the same as when its ranking was much lower. “Our stakes in the world have certainly become higher and correspondingly so have the expectations of us. Simply put India matters more and our world view must process that in all its aspects,” he said. “On the big global issues of our times, whether we speak of climate change or trade flows or health concerns or data security, India’s positioning has more influence on the eventual outcome,” Mr Jaishankar said.
He elaborated on “conceptual changes” seen in Indian foreign policy since 2014 and said much of that was influenced by the growing understanding of the different world. In terms of “Neighbourhood First”, he said the new approach envisaged a generous and non-reciprocal engagement of neighbours that centred around connectivity, contacts and cooperation.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)