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Indian Foreign Minister Asserts India’s Sovereignty over Foreign Policy

Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar wrote in a column for the daily Indian Express on May 3 that “Ideally, countries formulate their foreign policy as best leveraging the world with a view to promote their national development. The targets are often increasing access to resources, markets, technologies and best practices. Those who have posted impressive growth performance in the last many decades are the ones who have clarity in this regard. In our case, that focus has been sharp since 2014, but for ideological reasons, was more diffused in the first four decades of our Independence. swayed by imported prescriptions, we sometimes subordinated our own goals to the benefit of others. The big change now is a strong sense of ‘Bharat First,’ where we have both the confidence to think through the pathway and using our national interest as the primary metric of judgment. This has encouraged us to pursue a multi-vector diplomacy that would maximize our partners and minimize our problems. Where we have to take a stand, we do not hesitate or come under pressure. At the same time, there is a constant assertion of our relevance. This is Vishwa Bandhu Bharat.”

The term “Vishwa Bandhu Bharat” (also “Viksit Bharat 2047”) refers to India’s goal to be a fully developed nation by the centennial of its independence in 2047. Roughly translated, it means “developed India,” and includes a slogan, “Make in India, Invent in India.”

He continued, “If India is to emerge as a leading power, it must develop deep national strengths. Much of that will emanate from expanding manufacturing as that serves as the foundation for technology. To overcome the neglect of the past, it is essential that we plan to leapfrog, especially in regard to critical and emerging technologies. This is best achieved through strong international collaboration built on trust and comfort. In a polarized and suspicious world, those doors can only be opened by effective diplomacy….

“In a world where everything is being weaponized, India too has to ensure that its basic needs and critical infrastructure are nationally developed.”

In its coverage, RT quoted him as saying: “‘Politically, Bharat is a statement of independence,’ Jaishankar declared last year, shedding light on the new policy. ‘It is a declaration that as India engages the world, it doesn’t have to be done necessarily in terms set by others or in frameworks determined by others.’ Speaking at an event at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University earlier this year, he stressed that Indian foreign policy imperatives would no longer be influenced by ‘imported ideologies.’

“In its engagements with allies in the Quad or BRICS, I2U2, SCO or East Asia Summit, India’s interests have been ‘at the core of its calculations,’ Jaishankar observed, adding that these initiatives have often involved partners who are ‘at odds with each other.’

“‘Where we have to take a stand, we do not hesitate or come under pressure,’ Jaishankar wrote. Despite constant scrutiny from the West, Jaishankar has repeatedly advocated maintaining robust ties with Russia. At the Munich Security Conference held in February, he argued that India should be ‘admired’ for its balanced relationships with partners in the West as well as countries like Russia, Iran and others that are heavily sanctioned.”