India First, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam will be the two guiding principles of the country’s foreign policy: Jaishankar

The Uncut

New Delhi. Diplomat-turned-politician S. Jaishankar said on Tuesday that “India First” and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” will be the two guiding principles of the country’s foreign policy as he began his second term as Foreign Minister. He said that the emphasis of the new government will be on making India a “world brother” in a divided world facing conflicts and tensions. Jaishankar (69) is among those senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who have been given the responsibility of the same ministries that they handled in the previous government.

Many senior leaders including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman have been reassigned to the same ministries that they had in the previous government. Jaishankar said, “Keeping the future in mind, I certainly think that the two principles that the Prime Minister has given us – India First and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – will be the two guiding principles of Indian foreign policy.”

He said, “We are confident that together we will establish ourselves as world brothers in a troubled, divided world, full of conflicts and tensions.” Jaishankar also welcomed his ministerial colleagues Pabitra Margherita and Kirti Vardhan Singh to the Ministry of External Affairs. Margherita, a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, and Singh, who won the Lok Sabha elections from Gonda constituency in Uttar Pradesh, are the new Ministers of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Jaishankar said, “It is a great honour, a great privilege for me that I have once again been given the responsibility of leading the Ministry of External Affairs. You all know that in the last tenure, this ministry had really performed exceptionally.” Underlining the importance of India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy, Jaishankar mentioned inviting the leaders of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Seychelles and Mauritius to the swearing-in ceremony of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and the Union Council of Ministers.

He said, “All our neighbouring countries came (to the swearing-in ceremony) and the Prime Minister (Modi) met all of them. Our relations as neighbours will be the first priority and the top priority of the Modi government.” When asked whether the new government would demand a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council, Jaishankar did not give a direct answer and said that the country’s influence is constantly increasing. Jaishankar is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.

Jaishankar emerged as one of the leading ministers in Prime Minister Modi’s previous government, doing a good job, from neutralising Western criticism over the purchase of crude oil from Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine to formulating a firm policy approach to deal with China.

He is also credited with bringing foreign policy matters to the domestic stage for discussion, especially during India’s presidency of the G-20. Currently, Jaishankar is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Jaishankar has served as India’s Foreign Secretary (2015-18), Ambassador to the US (2013-15), China (2009-2013) and Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2000-2004). He was also India’s High Commissioner to Singapore (2007-2009). Jaishankar has also served in other diplomatic positions in the embassies of Moscow, Colombo, Budapest and Tokyo, as well as the Ministry of External Affairs and the President’s Secretariat.

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