Saturday, June 22, 2024

No other Prime Minister would have made me Minister: Jaishankar

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that he is not sure if any Prime Minister other than PM Narendra Modi would have appointed him as a minister. Speaking at an event in Pune for the release of his English book “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World,” which has been translated into Marathi as ‘Bharat Marg’, Jaishankar said that becoming foreign secretary was the limit of his ambition. Prior to being appointed as a minister, Jaishankar served as Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

“For me to become foreign secretary, was frankly the limit of my ambition, I had never even dreamt of becoming a minister,” Jaishankar said. “I am not sure any Prime Minister, other than Narendra Modi would have made me minister,” he added. In his remarks, Jaishankar further said, “I really also sometimes ask myself that if he was not the Prime Minister, would I have had the courage to enter politics, I don’t know.”

He also shared his experience of working as a foreign secretary with former Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. “We had a very-very good minister Sushma ji and we got along personally very well. I would say our combination was very good, a minister-secretary combination. But, I did learn one thing, there is a difference in responsibilities, there is a difference in the overall sense of being a secretary and a minister.

Jaishankar stated, “Secretary still has a minister above them who is answerable to parliament, answerable in public, who still gives protection and comfort, you know there is that umbrella.” The External Affairs Minister said that this has shaped his behaviour as a minister that he needs to infuse confidence in the system. In his remarks, Jaishankar called China an “unusual neighbour” as he discussed ways to tackle the country, which according to him if it becomes a superpower, may have its own challenges.

“China is an unusual neighbour. We have many neighbours but China may become global power or superpower. Living next to global power has own challenges,” Jaishankar said. EAM S Jaishankar stated that there are political, economic and technological ways to manage China in the book. He also spoke about national security, Jaishankar underlined how India has suffered due to terrorism as compared to other countries.

“At times there are challenges to national security requiring decisive steps. An obvious example of it is terrorism, we all know how much India has suffered due to terrorism as compared to other countries because other countries don’t have a neighbour like the one we have,” Jaishankar said during the event, as he took a sharp dig at Pakistan.

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