Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

ON A vaccine mission to the US as India fights shortages of doses amidst a virulent second surge, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Wednesday said countries needed to look beyond their national interests to global good.

“If countries, especially large countries, pursue their national interest, disregarding everything else, I think the world is going to have some big problems,” Jaishankar said, in conversation with former US NSA H R McMaster at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, New York.

“The number one question on everybody’s mind today is Covid, and the worry which people have — do we have accessible, affordable vaccines? Now, we can’t have a world which is part-vaccinated and part-neglected, because that is not going to be safe. So how do we get through the global challenges in a global way?” Jaishankar said, adding, “I think that’s the big question, and the importance of countries willing to harmonise national interest with global good.”

During his visit, Jaishankar is supposed to meet vaccine makers and suppliers of raw materials of vaccines, apart from US administration officials.

Calling the India-Pakistan agreement to adhere to the Line of Control ceasefire a “good step”, Jaishankar said there is “clarity of thinking” in New Delhi that it cannot accept terrorism as “legitimate”, “diplomacy” or as “any other aspect of Statecraft”.

“If we overlook or excuse or justify terrorism, or accept it as some kind of, shall I say, unorthodox Statecraft, then I think we are setting ourselves up for a really huge challenge and that’s unfortunately been the history of the world for the last 40 years,” he said.

Responding to a question on terrorism being used as an element of foreign policy by Pakistan, he said, “In many ways, people hoped that 9/11 would provide defining clarity. And I think there was a willing acceptance of a narrative from Pakistan which everybody knew was not justified by the ground reality.”

The Minister added, “We know the truth, it’s not like the world is collectively stupid… Somewhere, I think, we temper our analysis, and the clarity of our convictions, to some kind of habits of the past, a degree of risk aversion, looking for easy answers. And that leads you down a certain path.”

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