‘If Other Parts Of World Try To Force-Feed India…’: Jaishankar Stresses Building ‘Bharat Narrative’

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DECEMBER 4, 2023

New Delhi, INDIA – The world will find it difficult to grasp what is happening in India if it tries to “force feed” the country into certain constructs, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.

Addressing an event, Jaishankar said that society in the country is “deeply democratized today” and a lot of its leadership and its thought processes are being driven by people and forces that are deeply Indian, grounded and rooted in India.

“If we have a situation where other parts of the world are trying to force-feed India into their constructs, then it is going to be difficult for them to really grasp what is happening in our country,” he said.

The external affairs minister also explained what building a “Bharat narrative” means.

“People sometimes see it as politics, sometimes they look at the word-play and think that this is some kind of linguistic message… I am not getting into the origins of the word or the history of the concept,” he said.

“It today has multiple symbolisms in different domains,” he said.

In terms of economics, Jaishankar said the narrative highlights an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) and has “connotations of a certain resilience, a certain self-sufficiency, a contribution and a talent out there which is expressing itself”.

“Developmentally today, when we speak about Bharat, it also implies a commitment about creating an inclusive, just and fair society where no one is left behind, and that is actually, in many ways, the true test of development,” he said.

Politically, he said the ‘Bharat narrative’ is a statement of independence and that “it is a declaration that as India engages the world, it does not have to be done necessarily in terms set by others or in frameworks determined by others and that our objective in that engagement is in many ways to let our own personality and our own innate qualities come out.” He said ‘Bharat’ also reflects an expression of the “persona” of a society.

“And when it comes to the world, the Bharat that we seek to set the narrative about is a Bharat which would like to be perceived as Vishwa Mitra, as a friend which at crucial moments has really stepped up in a way which countries and societies normally do not do in international relations,” he said.

“Society where people are still being vaccinated but willing to share those vaccines with the rest of the world. A society where we have a chance to assume responsibility, like we did in G20, that we did so with a cause and commitment for the Global South,” he said.

His reference to vaccines was India’s supply of Covid-19 vaccines to a large number of countries during the pandemic.

The external affairs minister said India’s G20 presidency reflected a culture that was able to “harmonize” efforts at a time when the world was so “deeply divided”.

“We were able to find the bridge both between East and West and the North and South,” he said.

“When we speak about Bharat today, it is also in many ways linked to a change in the ways we look ahead,” he said.

Sometimes, when having participated in those debates at home and listening to the versions abroad, I feel it is like we are in two different worlds, he said.

“The society that has so deeply democratized today that a lot of its leadership and its thought processes are actually being driven by people and by forces which are so deeply Indian, which are so grounded, which are so rooted in India,” he said.

Jaishankar said the world will not be multi-polar if there is no respect for various cultures.

“If there are 200 countries in the world, there are at the very least, 200 cultures of the world and how do we give value and respect to all of them… I think that in many ways is the big question facing the world today,” he said.


Courtesy: ABP Live