Ministry of External Affairs held the annual Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) in collaboration with Pune International Centre where Mr. Jaishankar subconsciously, signaled his disinterest in helping Pakistan given the history with the neighbor.
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Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) :
From 23rd-25th February 2023, the 7th edition of the AED is being organized in Pune. The Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) is the External Affair Ministry’s annual flagship conference on Geoeconomics. ‘Asia and the Emerging World Order’ is the principal theme of the Dialogue. The Dialogue will also revolve around the concepts such as Global Growth Prospects; How the Global South Will Mould the G20 Agenda; the Metaverse: Understanding the Future; and Meeting Climate Targets: The Road Ahead, as per the Ministry of External Affairs press release.
The Inaugural event of AED included conversations among S. Jaishankar, L. N. Tshering (Bhutan’s Finance Minister), and Ibrahim Ameer (Maldives’ Finance Minister). Some of the excerpts from the interactions of Mr. S. Jaishankar with the media are summed down below.
Neighborhood First Approach
Mr. Jaishankar said after Mr. Narendra Modi came into power in 2014, there has been a remarkable change in the country’s approach to the neighboring countries. He referred the instance of the Maldives where India assisted with the Greater Male Project. India had recently started buying power from Nepal, he added. India is buying and selling power from the neighboring countries and in future, the country is interested in education and healthcare spending in the neighborhood.
Pakistan’s Dwindling Economic Conditions
Mr. Jaishankar stated that the key issue within India-Pakistan ties is ‘terrorism’ and one neither can avoid that nor can be in denial. He also expressed that just as a country has to fix its ‘economic’ issues, it also has to fix its ‘political’ and ‘social’ issues as well. Without naming Pakistan, he said, no country will ever spiral out of a difficult situation and emerge prosperous power if its primary industry is terrorism. He added it is in nobody’s interest for a neighboring country to get into a severe economic crisis.
Earlier, the minister had remarked that the future of Pakistan would largely be determined by its own actions and choices, and it is for the neighboring country to find a way out of its economic trouble. The world can offer options and support systems but the ‘tough choice’ has to be taken by Pakistan only. Pakistan has to think about what the people want. He indirectly took a jibe at Pakistan when expressed nobody reaches a difficult situation suddenly and without cause. He also mentioned that he needs to have the pulse of the citizens of India so as to think to provide aid to Pakistan.
The State of the World
The External Affairs Minister summed up the three Cs the world is facing problems in, which are Covid, conflict and climate. He opined the climate is not just an existential problem but increasingly an operational problem because one can see, the climate is already hindering the routine operations of the global economy. Mr. Jaishankar added that one cannot simply complain about the 3Cs problems but have to think about the solution which he believed should have a degree of creativity and a sense of caution about this world. He also thinks that the world today is afflicted by credibility issues.
India’s G20 Presidency
Mr. Jaishankar deemed the presidency of the G20 summit as a significant responsibility for India in these critical times as there are a lot of expectations from India. He is sure of the existence of multiple second and third-order impacts of the major world events and policy decisions, which India will be flagging to the world as part of its G-20 presidency.
The Minister also said this presidency is a marketing of India to powerful and influential leaders across the world by exposing them to cultural and socio-economic changes taking place in the country. He also believes that India also needs to look at the world and grab opportunities in order to become rising power.