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Russia-Ukraine conflict has widened the scope of political leveraging, says S. Jaishankar

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar feels that the Ukraine conflict has dramatically widened the scope of political leveraging as trade, debt and tourism are being weaponised and used as pressure points.

S. Jaishankar

India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar feels that the Ukraine conflict has dramatically widened the scope of political leveraging as trade, debt and tourism are being weaponised and used as pressure points.

The political consequences of globalisation have created its own backlash and the world is seeing a revived interest in strategic autonomy, he said on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The unfairness of globalisation and stresses of the Covid experience has been aggravated by shortages and costs that derive from the developments in Ukraine. As a result, we are headed for a far more uncertain and insecure existence,” he said delivering a lecture at IIM Calcutta on Wednesday night.

India has maintained a neutral stand on the Russia-Ukraine war that has escalated since early this year. India has called for peace and the need to end the war through diplomacy.

Mr. Jaishankar said “weaponisation” of everything from trade to tourism is leading to more significant changes in international affairs.

“In recent years we have seen how trade, connectivity, debt, resources and even tourism have become points of political pressure. The Ukraine conflict has widened the scope of political leveraging,” he said.

The Union Minister said India now has the ability and responsibility to shape the global landscape as expressed in mechanisms like Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) and commonly known as QUAD.

“India has not only to stand up for its own welfare but speak on behalf of the global South” as the country has an obvious stake in cooling down overheated global politics.

“We now have the ability and responsibility to shape the global landscape. It is expressed in new concepts like Indo-Pacific, mechanisms like QUAD or I2U2, or initiatives like the International Solar Alliance. On the economic front, we have been judicious in the manner and extent of engaging the world,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

I2U2 Group comprises India, Israel, the U.A.E., and the U.S. which aims to discuss shared areas of mutual interest, and strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in their respective regions and beyond. Its first virtual summit was held in July this year.

QUAD is a platform for strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the US.

“India, which has a large segment of vulnerable population, has to mitigate the impact of key negative trends. We stand up for our own welfare and speak on behalf of the Global South. We also have an obvious stake along with them in cooling down overheated global politics,” he said.

During an interaction with a student, who sought to know India’s diplomatic stand with regard to Taiwan, the hub of the semiconductor industry, he said the country needs to create an environment for the semiconductor industry to flourish.

“Today there is a big debate going on in the world on semiconductors. In India, we have started an India Semiconductor Mission. There is a very big push from the government to encourage the Indian industry to advance partnerships with foreign technology partners, and chip owners to see how much of it can come to India. But this requires creating not just a physical environment but also knowledge environment for human talent,” Mr. Jaishankar asserted.

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