Those opposing democratization of world affairs will dispute Indo-Pacific: Foreign Minister Jaishankar

Batting for an inclusive Indo-Pacific region, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday, without naming China, noted “Only those whose mindsets are built around spheres of influence and who are uncomfortable with the democratization of world affairs will dispute the Indo-Pacific today.”

Quad is the most prominent plurilateral platform that addresses contemporary challenges and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific, he further noted. “We are confident that entire Indo-Pacific region will benefit from its activities. And that is validated by growing recognition of its importance in international community. If there are reservations in any quarter, these stem from a desire to exercise a veto on choices of others,” he said in yet another subtle message to China.

It is no secret that China has time and again expressed reservations on the concept of the Indo-Pacific and Quad. It had in the past even described Quad as an Asian NATO.

“Delighted to speak on India’s Vision of the Indo Pacific at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University today. Addressed the changes in the landscape, the updated capabilities of players, and the importance of safeguarding the global commons,” the Minister tweeted following his address on the final day of his three-day visit to Bangkok for the Joint Commission.

Later answering a query, Jaishankar said, “Asian century will happen when China & India will come together but Asian century will be difficult to happen if India and China could not come together. At the moment the relationship is going through an extremely difficult phase after what China did at the border.”

“Recognize that a very substantial part of India’s interests now lie towards the East, beyond the Indian ocean and into the Pacific. A more collaborative outlook that transcends the orthodoxy of earlier theatres is the need of the day,” Jaishankar said, adding, “This is about recognizing the realities of globalization and the consequences of re-balancing. Only those whose mindsets are built around spheres of influence and uncomfortable with the democratization of world affairs will dispute the Indo-Pacific today.”

“We envisage a free, open, inclusive, peaceful & prosperous Indo-Pacific region built on a rules-based international order, sustainable & transparent infrastructure investment, freedom of navigation &over-flight, unimpeded lawful commerce, mutual respect for sovereignty, peaceful resolution of disputes, as well as equality of all nations,” the Minister stated, reiterating India’s stand.

Jaishankar also batted for multipolar world order. “The prospects for the global order depend on a more equitable and democratic distribution of power and resources. The world must be more multi-polar.”

He was quick to point out that such a multi-polar world must necessarily have a multi-polar Asia at its centre. “This will happen only if we Asian countries consolidate our independence and expand our freedom of choice.”

India envisages ASEAN to be at centre of Indo-Pacific, both literally and substantively, he emphasised. “Our ASEAN partners will surely note that our interactions with them have grown, not reduced, as a result of Indo-Pacific.”

The Minister also pitched for the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway that has the potential of creating a completely new axis of economic activity in Asia. “Has had its fair share of challenges but we are determined to bring it to an early conclusion.”

Without naming chaotic exit of the USA from Afghanistan last year and batting for Eurasian partnership to handle Afghan crisis, Jaishankar at the Thai University said,”I trust people closer to the problem than people far way, because people far way have a tendency to walk way when they feel like, we saw that in Afghanistan.”

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