Things Bigger Than Politics: External Affairs Minister Emphasizes the Significance of Prioritizing National Interest and Collective Image
In a recent statement, India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, highlighted the existence of matters that transcend the realm of politics, and stated that there are “things bigger than politics.” He made these remarks while reflecting on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing visit to the United States, during which Gandhi repeatedly criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. Jaishankar, addressing Indian Americans in Santa Clara, stressed the need to avoid engaging in politics while traveling abroad.
Jaishankar expressed his personal stance on the matter, stating, “Look, I said I can only talk for myself. I try when I go abroad not to do politics.” He acknowledged his willingness to engage in vigorous debates within India’s domestic sphere but emphasized the importance of recognizing collective responsibility and the national interest when representing the country abroad. The External Affairs Minister underlined that certain issues go beyond political affiliations, urging individuals to bear this in mind when they step outside their home country.
#WATCH | …"There are sometimes, things bigger than politics & when you step outside the country, that is important to remember…I differ with them but how I counter it, I would like to go home and do it. Watch me when I get back": EAM S Jaishankar when asked about Congress… pic.twitter.com/7h0YutokpH
— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2023
While admitting that he may strongly disagree with a particular person‘s views, Jaishankar stressed his preference for countering such differences within the boundaries of his own nation. By doing so, he believes in maintaining the integrity of India’s collective image and effectively addressing concerns upon his return. Consequently, Jaishankar’s statement emphasizes the significance of prioritizing the welfare of Indian citizens abroad and the importance of developing robust systems to address challenges they may face.
According to Jaishankar, one of the key elements of India’s foreign policy today is focused on securing the well-being of Indian citizens residing overseas. Given the increasing globalization of Indians, he stressed the need for establishing efficient mechanisms to respond to various difficult situations. These situations can be country-specific, as exemplified by the recent ordeal in Sudan.
Additionally, Jaishankar highlighted the unfortunate deaths of 5,000 Indians last year due to conflict in Ukraine, where more than 20,000 Indians currently reside. The External Affairs Minister acknowledged that such situations arise frequently and underscored the fundamental obligation to protect and assist Indian nationals living, working, or traveling abroad.
This obligation encompasses a range of responsibilities, including facilitating flights for stranded individuals and assisting those facing financial constraints or legal issues while overseas. Jaishankar acknowledged that there are regrettable instances where individuals pass away while abroad, necessitating the provision of support and repatriation services. The Minister emphasized the need for proactive measures and a robust support system to fulfill these obligations effectively.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s remarks shed light on the importance of prioritizing national interest and collective responsibility over political considerations when representing India abroad. He emphasized the need to maintain a cohesive national image and engage in rigorous debates within the country. Additionally, Jaishankar underscored the significance of India’s foreign policy in safeguarding the welfare of its citizens residing overseas. He called for the establishment of robust systems to address the challenges faced by Indians abroad, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to providing support, protection, and assistance to its citizens beyond its borders.
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