Foreign Secretary Jaishankar optimistic about India’s opportunity in new multilateral world order
Dr. S. Jaishankar gave the Opening Remarks at second annual Gateway of India Geoeconomic Dialogue
* Key remarks:
* “Don’t demonise Trump, analyse Trump.”
* “What we are seeing is stress in the global system so people are falling back on the basics, like jobs and security.”
* “Today, we have seven million plus Indians in the Gulf whose remittances are roughly of the order of our IT exports to the United States. So we need to step forward and strengthen our political ties with the Gulf countries”.
* “Geoeconomics will be more important with Japan than perhaps geopolitics at this time”.
Mumbai, 14 February – This morning Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India, opened the second day of the Gateway of India Geoeconomics Dialogue (GOIGD), co-hosted by Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, and the Ministry of External Affairs. He gave his perspective on recent political changes and economic uncertainties, elaborating on India’s optimistic view of the opportunities of increased multilateralism, India’s geoeconomic potential with Japan and the Gulf and the threat of growing terrorism.
On the recent election of President Trump and the impact on U.S. foreign policy, Jaishankar counselled the audience, “Don’t demonise Trump, analyse Trump”. Reflecting on President Trump’s policies on free trade and towards fair trade, the regulation of American borders, multilaterism and what this means for India, Jaishankar said, “What we are seeing is stress in the global system so people are falling back on the basics, like jobs and security.” He added that India needs to convey the message to the United States that its relationship with India is linked to outsourcing, which “helps the United States to be competitive” and not about offshoring which “damages the country’s tax base”. In his view, this would distinguish India from the basic problem that President Trump is attacking.
The conversation was then brought closer to home, and the discussion shifted to India’s geoeconomic relationship with China, Japan and the Gulf. Jaishankar spoke of India’s strategic shift, whereby “the last two years there has been a big initiative towards the Gulf” and “today, we have seven million plus Indians in the Gulf whose remittances are roughly of the order of our IT exports to the United States. So we need to step forward and strengthen our political ties with the Gulf countries”. Then taking a more geoeconomics focus, the Foreign Secretary stated that “geoeconomics will be more important with Japan than perhaps geopolitics at this time”. Jaishankar expressed his content at the speed with which economic ties, and in particular business partnerships, are being developed with the Gulf countries and Japan. He stated his hopes for India to take that to the next level.
The international concern of terrorism was also addressed in the hour-long discussion. According to Jaishankar there is a need today for countries to be security-centric. Commenting to a question about Pakistan, he stated that “We can live with a situation of little trade but we cannot live with a situation when the terror tap is turned on and off.” He said that therefore the whole issue boils down to if Pakistan is willing to make a fundamental break with its past decades.
The conference continues throughout 14th February with panel discussions on the reversal of globalisation, sovereign wealth funds, global taxation, the digital economy, Indo-pacific and India’s defence industrial base.