It is still a world of double standards: EAM Jaishankar
New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that it is still a world of “double standards” and those countries which are occupying positions of influence are resisting the pressure to change and those with historical influence have weaponised a lot of those capabilities.
Jaishankar was speaking at a Ministerial Session titled ‘South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas’ hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, United Nations India and the Reliance Foundation.
“I think more than political will, there is political pressure for change,” he said here on Saturday.
There is a growing sentiment in the world and the global South in a way embodies it. But there’s also political resistance, he said.
“Those who are occupying positions of influence, we see this in the UN Security Council most of all, are resisting the pressure to change.
“Those who are economically dominant today are leveraging their production capabilities and those who have institutional influence or historical influence have actually weaponised a lot of those capabilities as well,” Jaishankar said.
“They will all mouth the right things, but the reality is still today, it’s a world very much of double standards,” Jaishankar said.
COVID itself was an example of it, he said,
“But I think this whole transition will really be in a sense the global South putting more and more pressure on the international system. And, the global North…it’s not just the North. There are parts which may not think of themselves in the North, but are very resistant to change,” he said.
Jaishankar added cultural rebalancing really means recognising the diversity of the world, respecting the diversity of the world, and giving other cultures and other traditions their due respect.
He referred to the G20 Summit in Delhi earlier this month and cited the example of millets. He noted that the global South historically ate less wheat and more millets.
“In the name of the market a lot of things are done, like in the name of freedom a lot of things are done,” he said to laughter from the audience.
Respecting others’ heritage, tradition, music, literature, and ways of life, this is all part of the change that the global South would like to see, Jaishankar said.
The event was also addressed by India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, Reliance Foundation CEO Jagannatha Kumar, UN Resident Coordinator in India Shombi Sharp and ORF President Samir Saran.
Participating in the panel discussion at the event were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Joao Gomes Cravinho and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica, Kamina Johnson Smith.
Jaishankar further said that with a couple of months of India’s G20 Presidency still left before Brazil assumes the presidency in December 2023 “we will get hopefully something moving on the reform of international financial institutions.”
Saran referred to Jaishankar’s remark that “Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems” and said that some feel that Jaishankar is tough on Europe and if that is a fair assessment.
“No no of course not,” Jaishankar said.
Jaishankar added that among the main issues that are troubling the entire world are debt, SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) resourcing, climate action resourcing, digital access, nutrition and gender.
Jaishankar said that partly because of COVID and partly due to the focus on Ukraine, “these subjects were driven out of the global conversations,” and added that “to get actually the G20 to talk about what the world wanted it to talk about – that was a real problem in the G20.”
He asserted Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it very well when he said that “first let’s talk to the people who are not going to be on the table, let’s find out what they have to say,” which is why India did the Voice of Global South Summit–2023.
Hosting the Voice of Global South Summit gave India “the credentials, actually the empirical basis really to say” that “we’ve spoken to 125 countries and this is really what is troubling them and that is why we need to focus on these issues.”