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Business News/ News / EAM Jaishankar takes dig at Maldives amid ‘big bully’ claims, says, ‘Big bullies don't provide $4.5 bn to neighbours’

EAM Jaishankar takes dig at Maldives amid ‘big bully’ claims, says, ‘Big bullies don't provide $4.5 bn to neighbours’

A video clip of Jaishankar's response to the ‘barb’ was widely shared across social media platforms.

Externam affairs minister S Jaishankar (File Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Externam affairs minister S Jaishankar (File Photo) (HT_PRINT)

During a book launch event in the national capital, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar responded pointedly to a question regarding India's role in the sub-continent and the Indian Ocean region, dismissing the notion of India being a bully.

As reported by ANI, Jaishankar emphasized that “big bullies" do not extend aid amounting to USD 4.5 billion when neighbouring countries face distress.

EAM Jaishankar at the event on Sunday, “The big change today in this part of the world is what has happened between India and its neighbours. When you say India is perceived as a big bully, you know, big bullies don't provide four and a half billion dollars when the neighbours are in trouble."

He added, “Big bullies don't supply vaccines to other countries when COVID is on or make exceptions to their own rules to respond to food demands or fuel demands or fertilizer demands because some war in some other part of the world has complicated their lives."

A video clip of Jaishankar's response to the ‘barb’ was widely shared across social media platforms.

“You also have to look today at actually what is changed between India and its neighbours. Certainly, with Bangladesh and Nepal, I mean today you have a power grid, you have roads which didn't exist a decade ago, you have railways which didn't exist a decade ago, there's usage of waterways. Indian businesses use ports of Bangladesh on a national treatment basis," Jaishankar added.

Highlighting efforts to bolster connectivity between India and its neighboring nations, Jaishankar emphasized significant progress in trade, investments, and travel with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Maldives.

“Today at the connectivity, just the volume of people moving up and down, the volume of the trade which is there, the investments which are there, it's actually a very, very good story to tell. Not just with Nepal and Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka as well, I would say even with Maldives," the EAM stated.

Emphasizing the importance of active engagement in foreign policy matters for the “average person," External Affairs Minister Jaishankar underscored the necessity for broader public involvement in understanding and shaping India's diplomatic relations.

“Certainly, all Indians need to take more interest in foreign policy. it is very common all over the world, there is a belief that foreign policy is something complicated, esoteric, that should be left to certain people to deal with...which is not entirely without some justification," he added.

"...But, to me, a number of events happened that showed why it's important for the average person to get involved, pay more attention to foreign policy...and some of those events, if you look, were the Covid," he added.

Referring to India's outreach to friendly neighbours and global partners amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the External Affairs Minister highlighted the unprecedented solidarity demonstrated during that time, illustrating how the world chose not to "leave you alone" during such challenging circumstances.

“Covid showed that if you were a person in some remote part of India, with absolutely no interest in the world. The world had decided to not leave you alone, the world actually entered your doorstep, so the idea that there is a world, and there is a is necessary for us to put that behind us," the EAM said. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 04 Mar 2024, 11:56 AM IST
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