The External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was delivering the keynote address at the 5th Indian Ocean Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday (December 4). He also referred to the rise of China and its consequences.
The concern about terrorism is growing stronger with the recent developments in Afghanistan, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“Worries about terrorism have got stronger in the light of recent developments in the Af-Pak region. The international community has voiced those sentiments in UN Security Council Resolution 2593 by demanding assurances that Afghan soil will not be used for terrorism, by pressing for inclusive governance and seeking safeguards on treatment of minorities, women and children”, he said.
Shri Jaishankar was delivering the keynote address at the 5th Indian Ocean Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
After the complete withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, on August 15 this year, the Taliban captured Kabul and overthrew the Ashraf Ghani government.
Two major developments, the changing American strategic posture and the rise of China, have influenced the evolution of the Indian Ocean.
Referring to the rise of China, Shri Jaishankar said, “the emergence of a power at a global level is an extraordinary happening. That this is a ‘different’ kind of polity enhances the sense of change. The USSR may have borne some similarities, but it never had the centrality to the global economy that China has today.”
“The consequences of China’s growing capabilities are particularly profound because of the extrapolation of its domestic seamlessness to the world outside. As a result, whether it is connectivity, technology or trade, there is now an ongoing debate on the changed nature of power and influence”, he added.
Chinese President XI Jinping is all set to retain power beyond 2022. In this backdrop, China has been deliberately raising tensions at the border with India.
Referring to the current border situation, Shri Jaishankar said, “Separately, we have also seen a sharpening of tensions on territorial issues across the breadth of Asia. Agreements and understandings of yesteryears now seem to have some question marks. Time will, of course, provide answers.”
The United States is exercising restraint in its power projection and is “adjusting to multipolarity and rebalancing and re-examining the balance between its domestic revival and commitments abroad”.
Shri Jaishankar said, “Since 2008, we have witnessed a greater caution in US power projection and an effort to correct its over-extension. It may have taken different forms and be articulated in very different ways. But there is a larger consistency over three Administrations that they themselves may not readily recognise. It is expressed in footprint and posture, terms of engagement, extent of involvement and nature of initiatives. Overall, the United States is moving towards greater realism both about itself and the world.”
The two-day event started on Saturday (December 4) and witnessed the participation of many global leaders, including Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Singapore External Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Oman External Affairs Minister Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi.
The theme of the conference this year was “Ecology, Economy, Epidemic”.
Criticising the developed countries for shifting the onus on developing countries for action on climate change issues, the minister said, “There is widespread disappointment about the lack of adequate progress on climate finance. Developing countries cannot consent to the developed shifting responsibilities onto them because they do not wish to change their lifestyle. The pandemic too has added further to our burdens, in part due to a similar mind-set.”
Shri Jaishankar highlighted how the Quad is helpful in searching for solutions for some of the emerging issues in the region. He said, “The Quad is a good example at one extremity of the Indian Ocean. Within the space of a year, it has developed a robust agenda covering maritime security, cyber security, climate action, vaccine collaboration, critical and emerging technologies, higher education, resilient supply chains, disinformation, multilateral organisations, semi-conductors, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as infrastructure development.”
On September 24 this year, US President Joe Biden hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan at the White House for the first-ever in-person Leaders’ Summit of the Quad.