Tuesday, May 21
Eastern Ladakh, Balakot shown India friendly but 'firm, fiery' nation: EAM Jaishankar

Eastern Ladakh, Balakot shown India friendly but ‘firm, fiery’ nation: EAM Jaishankar

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JAMMU: Asserting that the world has witnessed India’s action on challenges on the China border as well as cross-border terrorism, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said India today is not only seen across the globe as friendly but also as a “firm” and “fiery” nation that cares for its people and fends for them in crisis situations.

Speaking on the topic “Viksit Bharat @2047-The Voice of the Youth” at an event at the Delhi University’s Hansraj college, Jaishankar referred to Balakot air strike in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as well as the ongoing LAC standoff in eastern Ladakh to drive his point.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Tso (lake) area. The eastern Ladakh standoff has resulted in a freeze of bilateral ties between India and China.

The two sides have so far held 21 rounds of corps commanders-level talks to resolve the standoff, even as India is pressing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to disengage from the Depsang and Demchok areas, maintaining that there cannot be restoration of normalcy in its relations with China as long as the state of the borders remains abnormal.

Jaishankar spoke about India’s non-tolerance towards cross-border terrorism and gave the example of the Balakot airstrike.

“The world today sees us as friendly but fiery. They have seen our action on challenges like terrorism whether it be 26/11 or Balakot or challenges on the China border.

“We took a firm stand to purchase oil from Russia for the interest of our people even when countries objected. We were firm and fair,” he said.

Jaishankar further called India a “law abiding country” which delivers democracy in pace with the world.
He asserted that India today is not only seen across the globe as friendly but also as a “firm” and “fiery” nation that cares for its people and fends for them in crisis situations.

He was referring to the rescue operations run by India to bring back its citizens from war-torn countries such as Ukraine.

Jaishankar said the world is closely watching India as it is moving away from the shackles of the past and making strides to become the world’s third largest economy.

“Right now, we are a little less than a four-trillion dollar economy. Soon we will become the third largest economy when we reach five trillion dollars. By the time we reach ‘Amrit Kaal’, I am confident we will build a 30-trillion dollar economy,” he asserted.

India has made an impressive growth in the last couple of years and this has been acknowledged and recognised by world leaders, the minister said.

“Today we are respected because of our economic performance. India’s talent is present in all sectors of the world,” Jaishankar said and added that the world is watching India to see how it will grow further.

“Viksit Bharat” is not a mere slogan to motivate the people but is the foundation built in the last 10 years upon which the future of India’s next 25 years will be built, Jaishankar said while addressing students.

“The next 25 years of the ‘Amrit Kaal’ are your future. It is the journey towards ‘Viksit Bharat’, and it is you who will make this journey possible,” he said.

The external affairs minister said that he sees these 25 years as “a period of opportunity and new challenge”.

“This change is of the kind that we have never seen before,” Jaishankar said while highlighting the developments that have taken place in the economy and the technology sector, and in India’s position in the global forum.

Referring to India’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he termed as “once in a century challenge”, Jaishankar said India outshined the world’s expectations.

“When the Covid outbreak happened and world leaders met to find a way forward, they thought India will not be able to handle the situation. They had good reasons to be worried about. But the same country ended up supplying about 100 counties with vaccines,” he said.

Lauding the “Digital India” initiative, Jaishankar said the country was among the few which provided digital vaccination certificates.

He also said that India is growing as a digital economy with cashless transactions of 12 billion per month, higher than America where four billion such transactions take place in a year.

Jaishankar said India has emerged as a technology leader globally and the first impression that it has made on the world is with the success of Chandrayaan-3 “which was made at less than the cost of making a movie”. He was referring to the country’s mission to the South Pole of the Moon.

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