India’s rise in the global order will invite reactions that may include attempts to dilute the country’s influence and limit its interests, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday.
Delivering the second Manohar Parrikar Memorial Lecture, Jaishankar said as India expands its global interests and reach, there is an even more compelling case to focus on its hard power.
The External Affairs Minister said national security challenges for a “rising” India will be different from the ones it faced earlier and emphasised on greater convergence between foreign and military policies.
In a reference to Pakistan, Jaishankar said a longstanding political rivalry is today expressed as sustained cross-border terrorism by “a neighbour” even as he enumerated security challenges emanating from long borders and large maritime spaces.
“The world is a competitive place and India’s rise will evoke its own reactions and responses. There will be attempts to dilute our influence and limit our interests. Some of these contestations can be directly in the security domain, others could be reflected in economics, connectivity even in societal context,” he said.
The minister, delving into the broad spectrum of security challenges facing India, said the country cannot disregard attempts to undermine national integrity and unity.
“There are really very few major states that still have unsettled borders to the extent that we do. Of equal relevance is the very very unique challenge that we face of years of intense terrorism inflicted on us by a neighbour. We also cannot disregard attempts to undermine our national integrity and unity,” he said.
“And over and above these exceptional factors, there are the daily security challenges of long borders and large sea spaces. The thinking and planning of a polity that operates in such an uncertain environment naturally should give primacy to hard security,” he said.
Jaishankar said the era of “unconstrained military conflicts” may be long gone, but the reality of limited wars and coercive diplomacy was still very much a fact of life.
Speaking on India’s growing global stature, Jaishankar said the country’s relationship with the world cannot be the same as when its ranking was much lower.
“Our stakes in the world have certainly become higher and correspondingly so have the expectations of us. Simply put India matters more and our world view must process that in all its aspects,” he said. “On the big global issues of our times, whether we speak of climate change or trade flows or health concerns or data security, India’s positioning has more influence on the eventual outcome.”
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