Premature to suggest India’s mediation role in Ukraine war: Foreign minister S Jaishankar

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Responding to speculative reports about the possibility of India mediating between Russia and Ukraine to help stop the ongoing war, India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday it was ‘premature’ to think of it. Jaishankar said it will be “premature” to speak of India acting as a facilitator to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine, and countries impacted by the conflict can only hope to nudge the main players in a positive direction, said a Hindustan Times report.

“In a way, we are not looking, we cannot approach today’s problems with models or experiences — this is a very, very different situation,” he said at an HT event in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting in Uzbekistan in September this is ‘not an era of war’ and issues cannot be settled on the battlefield. and there is a need for players to get back to the negotiating table. Countries that believe similarly can articulate their concerns and try to shape the thinking of those more directly involved in a positive direction, Jaishankar added.

“I think beyond that, to suggest anything else, I don’t think is justified at this point of time,” he said.

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The speculation had increased ahead of Jaishankar’s November 7-8 visit to Russia where he met his counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Russian leadership for expanding economic ties and discussing energy supplies.

Jaishankar also cautioned that India will have to get its act together to cope with an uncertain, unpredictable, volatile, turbulent world and a decade with a far more fluid situation, including frictions and possibly worse situations.

Jaishankar said the global order and globalisation model were challenged after the international financial crisis of 2008, and the Covid-19 pandemic ‘brought a lot of the problems which had been kept under the carpet out into the open’. The supply chains were fragile, production was overly concentrated and dependent on limited geographies, he added.

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The Ukraine conflict and climate crisis have added to the stress factors, he said.
“A large part of getting our act together is doing the right things at home, building up our strengths, governance, creating capabilities and assets. It’s particularly vital now that we find our feet and stay strong because there is this… sense of a long period of global uncertainty before us,” he said.

Speaking on the standoff with China, Jaishankar said that the relationship cannot be normal and is not normal unless there is peace and tranquillity on the border, unless there is no unilateral attempt to change status quo.

The 2020 events on the LAC were “an attempt by one party, and we know which one, to depart from agreements and understandings and that is at the heart of the issue”.  “Relatively speaking, there were multiple friction points. In those friction points, there was dangerously close up deployments by the military. I think some of those issues have been worked out keeping in mind equal and mutual security,” he said.

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Jaishankar said the US is now one of India’s principal partners in political, military and economic spheres. “I cannot overstate the importance of this relationship. My sense of what has changed in the last few years is that the two countries are looking at the relationship and then examining and strategising how it applies to a world in transformation,” he said.

Responding to a question on relations with Pakistan, he said, “My sense is that the people of the country want a neighbourly relationship with Pakistan but they want a good neighbourly relationship, and good neighbours don’t do terrorism. I think it’s as simple as that.”

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