New Delhi, April 26 (UNI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday was blunt in his criticism of how the West shut its eyes a year ago to the Afghan crisis when an “entire civil society was thrown under the bus by the world”, even as he reiterated India’s position on Ukraine, of finding a way to stop the fighting and returning to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.
Responding to questions by two European foreign ministers – from Norway and Luxembourg — at a Townhall event at the Raisina Dialogue here, Jaishankar said that the past two years have brought in some big shocks in the form of Covid, Afghanistan and, the Ukraine conflict, with the sharper friction between the big powers – between the West and Russia and between the US and China, adding to it.
The minister said there would be “no winners” after the Ukraine conflict, and that while the issue was occupying the West, especially Europe, “to the exclusion of everything else”, there were other pressing issues concerning the rest of the world, especially Asia and Africa, of rising fuel prices and food inflation.
To the Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt asking how did India as the world’s largest democracy view its role amid Russia’s “authoritarian attack on Ukraine because it is a democracy“, Jaishankar cited India’s position on Ukraine – of articulating for urgent cessation of fighting, of return to diplomacy and dialogue and stressing the need to respect the territorial integrity of states.
“We in Asia face our own sets of challenges which often impact on the rules- based order. All of us would like to find the right balance of our beliefs, of our interests, of our experiences, and that is what we are all trying to do,” he added.