India does not seek isolationist arrangements when it speaks of self-reliance: Foreign Secy

A self-reliant India will automatically be more “internationalist” India as it does not seek self-centered or “isolationist” arrangements, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Friday.

His comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for making India self-reliant by turning the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity through sustained focus on making the Indian economy globally competitive.

In an address at the National Defence College, Shringla said all crises alter geopolitics and there will be significant changes too after COVID-19 blows over, such as re-balancing of hard and soft power, emergence of new multilateral conversations and change in strength of “players”.

“As we remain engaged globally, we also need to become ”Atma Nirbhar” or self-reliant, as the prime minister observed in his address to the nation recently, to recover from the current crisis,” the foreign secretary said.

“We do not, however, seek self-centered or isolationist arrangements when we speak of self-reliance. A self-reliant India will automatically be a more internationalist India,” he added.

The foreign secretary said the coronavirus pandemic has reaffirmed India”s role as a “pharmacy of the world”, adding that medical supplies were sent to 133 countries which included 446 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 1.54 billion paracetamol tablets.

Talking about major challenges facing the globe, Shringla said terrorism remains a “growing and resistant cancer” which continues to destabilise and weaken states besides diverting their resources.

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