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Important for India to have stable leadership as world will witness stormychurn: EAM Jaishankar

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New Delhi: The world will witness a “very, very stormy” churn because of conflicts, power shifts and sharpening competition in this decade, which makes it all the more important for India to have a stable and mature leadership, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

In an exclusive interview to PTI at the news agency’s headquarters late Thursday, Jaishankar painted a picture of the world radically different from the one we are living in now by the end of 2020s when asked to draw on his nearly 50 years of experience in diplomacy and politics to give an assessment of the global power balance.

“Multiple conflicts, tensions, divides! With all these variables that I am putting to you, I am painting to you, actually, a very, very stormy international scene for the balance of the decade,” said Jaishankar, a former ambassador to China and the United States, who was tapped for the political role by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.

Jaishankar especially referred to the declining influence of the United States, the conflict in Ukraine, the fighting in Gaza, attacks in the Red Sea, tensions in the South China Sea, the challenge of terrorism in different geographies and advent of new technologies as the drivers of the “churn”.

“I think the combination of all of this today, poses a kind of a picture of great churn, and on top of it the competition is sharpening,” he said.

In this context, he added it is imperative that voters in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls choose wisely so India continues to have a stable and mature leadership.

“I think today, one of the biggest choices which the Indian voters have to make is in this situation — whom do you trust to lead the Indian government,” he said, pitching for continuation of the National Democratic Alliance government.

Jaishankar, who has a massive fan base in the country for raising India’s and the Modi government’s profile internationally with his hard-nosed diplomacy, pointed out that the churn is already happening.

“Today, you have a conflict in Ukraine, you have fighting in Gaza, you have these attacks in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, you have tensions in the South China Sea, you have terrorism in different geographies, you have the kind of problem that we are having on the LAC (Line of Actual Control) with China but other countries also have their own issues with China,” he said.

At the same time, the dominance of the United States is diminishing, he said.

“The United States is still the premier power of the world. But for a variety of reasons, you can say, the next lot of powers are so much closer to the United States than they used to be. Also, the US itself has changed its posture vis-a-vis the world,” he said.

The minister also argued that the international economy has evolved, noting that the globalisation in the last 25 years has resulted in concentration of manufacturing and technology in one geography while hollowing out capacities in many countries.

“And there is a reaction to both,” he said, arguing that countries across the globe started focusing on having more centres of production, more supply chains.

“One part of it is a move to actually diversify the global economy, the second is because of the hollowing out of the economy, of many economies, there is a desire today to protect their jobs. That they are seeing the social consequences of this kind of a very, I would say, flawed model of globalisation. This is becoming a very big driver,” Jaishankar added.

The external affairs minister also highlighted the “tremendous” impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence, chips, drones, electric vehicles, battery, green and clean technologies. (PTI)

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