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an exclusive interview with News18, S Jaishankar addressed the significance of strong leadership

New Delhi, 4th May ‘2024: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has emphasized the importance of presenting the ten-year record of the Modi government to the public so to instil confidence among voters and likened this record to an insurance policy, stating that it serves as evidence of Modi’s commitments and achievements.

In an exclusive interview with News18, S Jaishankar addressed the significance of strong leadership in navigating global challenges, citing the need for experienced leadership in times of tension and conflict worldwide. He noted the growing interest among voters in foreign policy matters, reflecting on his extensive interactions across various states.

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Responding to queries about managing news flow, Jaishankar explained the structured approach of the ministry, including the establishment of situation and control rooms during crises. He underscored the importance of swift decision-making and adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) in handling emergencies.

Speaking about his career choices, Jaishankar revealed his initial preference for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) due to his academic background and interest in international affairs. He acknowledged the accessibility and popularity he enjoys among the youth, attributing it to his relaxed demeanor and commitment to public service.

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Addressing criticism of government functioning, Jaishankar emphasized the inclusive decision-making process under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership. He highlighted the collaborative approach in cabinet meetings and foreign tours, where every voice is heard and valued.

Regarding the issue of Muslim reservation raised by Congress, Jaishankar criticized the party’s approach, likening its manifesto to a blend of Muslim League and Maoist ideologies. He asserted the Prime Minister’s stance against reservation based on religion, highlighting the government’s commitment to equality.

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Jaishankar’s remarks drew attention to the ongoing debate over the reservation policy, particularly in Karnataka, where the Congress government has proposed a 4% quota for Muslims. He emphasized the need for clarity and consistency in addressing social and economic disparities without resorting to divisive measures.

On Rahul Gandhi’s comments about Indian democracy being in danger during his overseas visits, Jaishankar expressed disappointment, urging politicians to refrain from airing domestic grievances abroad. He cautioned against inviting external interference in India’s internal affairs, citing historical precedents and emphasizing the importance of maintaining national unity.

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Addressing Rahul Gandhi’s assertions about Chinese encroachments, Jaishankar refuted claims of silence, highlighting historical context and infrastructure developments. He clarified misconceptions surrounding China’s activities in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, citing past instances of border disputes and emphasizing the government’s commitment to border negotiations.

Switching to election dynamics, Jaishankar commented on the possibility of achieving a substantial victory margin. He dismissed opposition skepticism, expressing confidence in voter turnout and the Modi government’s track record. Jaishankar projected optimism for reaching 400 mark electoral milestone, attributing it to public trust and the government’s proactive governance approach.

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Reflecting on international election observation, Jaishankar welcomed foreign interest in India’s electoral processes, affirming positive intentions behind such engagements. He underscored the importance of transparent electoral practices and dismissed foreign media criticisms as uninformed perspectives.

In discussing language preferences, Jaishankar emphasized the natural evolution of language usage, particularly in political discourse. He highlighted the BJP government’s emphasis on Hindi, aligning with the linguistic preferences of many leaders and constituents.

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Regarding election turnout and Microsoft’s warnings of potential interference, Jaishankar expressed confidence in India’s robust electoral system while acknowledging the challenges posed by advancements in technology.

Addressing allegations of EVM tampering and border tensions, Jaishankar debunked misconceptions and provided historical context, emphasizing the government’s efforts to strengthen border infrastructure and resolve disputes diplomatically.

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In response to queries about India’s global standing, Jaishankar highlighted the country’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic growth trajectory. He emphasized India’s role as a civilization power and the need to assert its cultural identity on the world stage.

Regarding the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and other contentious issues raised by a newspaper based in England, Jaishankar emphasized the primacy of law and elections. He dismissed suggestions that legal proceedings should be halted during election periods, citing international norms and urging consistency in legal enforcement.

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On the topic of intruder killings, Jaishankar offered a blunt assessment of Pakistan’s role in fostering terrorism. He suggested that individuals engaging in illicit activities should face consequences, regardless of their location, underscoring the need for accountability.

Shifting the conversation to lighter topics and when inquired about Jaishankar’s holiday plans. Jaishankar, downplayed the notion of vacations under Modi’s governance, emphasizing his dedication to duty. Pointing to his previous visit to Kashmir, he expressed interest in exploring Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, citing its burgeoning tourism industry and historical significance.

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Jaishankar expressed optimism about the upcoming elections, citing faith in the Modi government’s track record and commitment to fulfilling promises. He underscored the importance of presenting a strong and stable government to address the aspirations of the Indian populace.

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