India ready for bigger role: S Jaishankar

In a world which is “fractured… with polarised debates”, India is willing to step up to the plate and play a larger global role, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.

Addressing a conference by the Centre for Policy Research here on Monday, he said India’s challenge is “undertaking deep reforms and addressing long-standing governance issues.”

Referring to the emerging geopolitical landscape, Jaishankar said Indian strategy will have to be more “complex and nuanced in a world which is changing faster than we can imagine, as we struggle to absorb a nationalistic America, a rising China, a divided Europe, a re-emerging Russia, a normalising Japan, an insecure ASEAN, and an even more disturbed Middle-East.

Other continents and regions are not without their own challenges, including ours. Economic rebalancing has now started to translate into its political manifestation. And that means a fundamental overhaul of the global architecture”.

The “rebalancing” of the world, he said, is “accompanied by growing nationalism across vast geographies. There is no question that the overall mood is more competitive; some would say more selfish. The very nature of politics has changed in different societies and the disapproval of those who lost out does not make it less legitimate”.

Multi-lateralism is a casualty, alliances have eroded as the US has changed its own outlook and demeanour, he said. Interestingly, this opens up the space for “pluri-laterals” and coalitions of the willing, as well as middle powers, like India which find greater space. “Perhaps it is only logical that India should emerge as an industry leader in this regard, whether it is the RIC, SCO, Quad or JAI,” he said.

An equally big challenge comes from the fact that while supply chains, connectivity, terrorism, climate change and pandemics cut across national borders, there is less inclination among the big powers to coordinate and work together, he said.

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