No one will emerge victorious from the war in Ukraine, said External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar on Tuesday.
Addressing the annual Raisina Dialogue here, the senior Minister said the citizens of the world are getting affected by events like the pandemic and violence and reminded the western guests that there are several equally serious challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and that they should look beyond the crisis in Ukraine.
“There will be no winners out of this conflict. At this moment, this would occupy you with the exclusion of everything else. There are equally pressing issues in other parts of the world. I mentioned Afghanistan.. the challenges we faced in Asia,” said Dr Jaishankar. He cited that the “rules based international order” was violated in the Indo-Pacific region in the recent past but the western decision makers did not pay sufficient attention to addressing the causes of such breakdowns.
A day earlier, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen had also connected the Ukrainian crisis with the Indo-Pacific region, saying that the war in Europe has begun to impact the region. Her premise was based on the emerging partnership between Russia and China that she described as an “unrestrained pact”. During the second day of the annual event, several speakers including former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott echoed Ms van der Leyen’s opinion on China’s role in the emerging world order and said that following the Russian military campaign on Ukraine, China may be tempted to launch an operation to take Taiwan.
India has maintained communication with both sides of the war and urged for “immediate cessation of violence”. The policy has drawn some criticism including from U.S. President Joe Biden who described it as “shaky”.
Mr Jaishankar took on the critics of India’s neutral status on the Ukraine crisis, saying, “When rules-based order was under challenge in Asia, the advice we got from Europe is ‘do more trade’. At least we are not giving you that advice”. Further, he said the people of Afghanistan were abandoned without any concern about their future.
“In terms of Afghanistan, please show me which part of the rules-based international order justified what the world did there,” said Mr Jaishankar who urged the western decision makers to look beyond their immediate continental problems.
“I recognize today that the conflict in Ukraine is one among the dominant issues, not just in terms of principles and values alone, but also for its knock-on effects. People in Asia and Africa and saying that the conflict is playing out in terms of higher energy prices, food inflation, disruption of various kinds,” he said.
Addressing the event which coincided with the completion of the second month of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, Mr Jaishankar urged for the beginning of serious negotiations and said, “We should look at some way to return to diplomacy and dialogue. For that the fighting should stop.”
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