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LS polls: Amid global turbulence, India needs stable and mature leadership, says Jaishankar

LS polls: Amid global turbulence, India needs stable and mature leadership, says Jaishankar

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: India must have a stable and mature leadership as the world will witness a “very, very stormy” churn because of conflicts, power shifts, and sharpening competition in this decade, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday.

He painted a picture of a world radically different by the end of the 2020s from the one we are living in now when a news outlet asked him to draw on his nearly 50 years of experience in diplomacy and politics to assess the global power balance.

“Multiple conflicts, tensions, divides! With all these variables that I am putting to you, I am painting to you, actually, a very, very stormy international scene for the balance of the decade,” said Dr. Jaishankar, a former Indian Ambassador to China and the United States, who was tapped for the political role by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.

He cited the declining influence of the United States, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the war in Gaza, the attacks in the Red Sea, the tensions in the South China Sea, the challenge of terrorism in different geographies, and the advent of new technologies as the drivers of the “churn.”

“I think the combination of all of this today poses a kind of a picture of great churn. And, and on the top of it, the competition is sharpening,” he observed.

Against this backdrop, voters in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls must choose wisely so India continues to have a stable and mature leadership, Dr. Jaishankar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, said.

“I think today, one of the biggest choices which the Indian voters have to make is in this situation — whom do you trust to lead the Indian government,” he said, pitching for the continuation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by PM Modi.

Dr. Jaishankar, who has a massive fan base in the country for raising India’s and the Modi government’s profile internationally with his hard-nosed diplomacy, pointed out that the churn is already happening.

“Today, you have a conflict in Ukraine, you have a fighting in Gaza, you have these attacks in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, you have tensions in the South China Sea, you have terrorism in different geographies, you have the kind of problem that we are having on the LAC (Line of Actual Control) with China but other countries also have their issues with China,” he said.

At the same time, the dominance of the United States is diminishing, he said.

“The United States is still the premier power of the world. But for a variety of reasons, you can say, the next lot of powers are so much closer to the United States than they used to be. Also, the US itself has changed its posture vis-a-vis the world,” he said.

The EAM also argued that the international economy has evolved, noting that globalization in the last 25 years has resulted in the concentration of manufacturing and technology in one geography while hollowing out capacities in many countries.

“And there is a reaction to both,” he said, arguing that countries worldwide started focusing on having more centers of production, and more supply chains.

“One part of it is a move to diversify the global economy, the second is because of the hollowing out of the economy, of many economies, there is a desire today to protect their jobs. That they are seeing the social consequences of this kind of very, I would say, flawed model of globalization. This is becoming a very big driver,” Dr. Jaishankar added.

He also highlighted the “tremendous” impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence, chips, drones, electric vehicles, batteries, and green and clean technologies.


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