India’s non-alliance culture enables it to balance relations with both Russia and US: Jaishankar

India’s non-alliance culture enables it to balance relations with both Russia and US: Jaishankar

Singapore: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Saturday described India’s relationship with Russia and the US as a “multi-vector” policy and said it was possible to deal with each one on a “non-exclusive” basis because of India’s strong non-alliance culture. Speaking at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Jaishankar was answering questions after a lecture on his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ when he was asked about India’s balancing act with two polar opposite countries.

Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Singapore and reached here earlier in the day.

Answering the question, he said, “On Russia-US, when I said multi-vector policy today, this is something which every, certainly every significant country is going to face. Which is, if you have conflicting interests, if you have different partners, if you are vested in relationships, which often appear to be at cross purposes with each other, how do you actually reconcile this?

“And the answer is clearly, to find ways by which each one of them is dealt with on a non-exclusive basis,” Jaishankar said.

He was asked how India balanced its relations with both Russia and the US.

Jaishankar compared India’s relationship with Russia and the US with that of India’s relationship with Israel and Palestine when he mentioned dealing with the countries on a non-exclusive basis.

“When I come to Israel-Palestine, I will take that same logic. So it will be for us, you know, how do we today deal with good relations with Russia, good relations with Europe, have good relations with the US, good relations with some other country?”

“This is a way, which, you know, today’s diplomacy is going to require us to do. Some of us will do it a little bit more successfully, some of us less so.

“Countries which have strong alliance cultures don’t have that dilemma, because they’ve already, in a sense, made their choice. You know, they’ve signed up to a larger group, I think, on a particular issue. Countries which are not part of an alliance will have to think this through for themselves. And India is clearly in that category,” Jaishankar, India’s top diplomat said.

The journalist also described India of today akin to “a young America, in terms of your politics in terms of your DNA. It’s like America was 50 years, maybe 100 years ago, where they were starting to invent a lot of new things and pushing forward.”

Jaishankar admitted that this is the first time he has heard someone describe (India) as a ‘young America’ and said, “I honestly don’t know what to make of it.”

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