New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on Tuesday, said that India is now more active in shaping global agenda now than ever before.
Addressing media to mark 100 days of the second term of Modi government, Jaishankar said, “Collaborations have become more salient parts of India’s foreign policy. Connections between national security and foreign policy, the co-relation between national security goals and foreign policy goals have grown stronger.”
He also said that India’s appetite to shape global agenda is more than what it was ever before.
“I think today if you look at the big debates at multilateral forums - G20, BRICS, you will see that the Indian voice, Indian views are today heard much more clearly,” he remarked.
Talking about the impact of Prime Minister Modi on foreign policy, Jaishankar said, “Prime Minister is extraordinarily energetic and we try to emulate him.”
Jaishankar also said that India’s engagement with Africa has been steadily rising.
“We have been very active in Africa in the last 100 days. The vision for Africa was outlined by the PM last July. We are largely on track in terms of our Africa commitments. Work is underway to open 18 embassies in Africa. We have made a commitment of 10 billion dollars to Africa and have reached 6 billion.”
Talking about India and the US, Jaishankar said the relationship is in "very good health".
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar replied to a question on the trade differences between the two countries, describing the ties as "90 per cent full and 10 per cent half".
The minister also said US President Donald Trump attending the "Howdy, Modi!" event on Sunday in Houston along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a matter of great honour.
"India-US relations have come a long way... look at the quality of ties, the political comfort, the security cooperation...there is no facet of the relationship today which hasn't gone upwards over the last 20 years. For an event like Houston, from both sides the approach is bipartisan. The relationship is in very good health," Jaishankar said.
"The trajectory has always been upwards. As in any relationship, there are issues. The trade problems are normal with people you are closest to since most trade happens with them," he remarked.
Jaishankar said the government had been engaging for months with the US to try and resolve the trade issues. "It's a glass 90 per cent full rather than 10 per cent empty," he said.
Speaking on the "Howdy, Modi!" event, in which President Trump and PM Modi will address thousands of Indian Americans, the Foreign Minister said it was a "great achievement" for the community.
"You have an event of this size and someone like Trump coming there, it shows the respect the Indian community commands. They're motivated by the fact that someone like Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister; it's a matter of great honour that Trump has decided to come there," he said.
On what message the event held for Pakistan, Jaishankar said: "It's not just Pakistan...the whole world will be watching the Houston event and take lessons from what Indian Americans have achieved. There are multiple messages there. It's for the Pakistanis to read what they wish into it."
Jaishankar, who was Foreign Secretary in the previous Modi government, also fielded questions on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where several politicians have been detained and massive security restrictions have been in place since August 5, when the government announced the end of special status to the state under Article 370.
"Don't worry about what people will say on Jammu and Kashmir. India's position clear since 1972. On my issue, my position will prevail. You have people in the US Congress making comments. I've spent a lot of my working life dealing with the US Congress. They say a lot of things because people go to individual members, and say 'you need to say this'; I expect to be in DC fairly soon and if I were to meet a member of Congress I would ask them - you have confronted terrorism what was your response? Would you be impassive? What would you do if the laws of your country don't apply everywhere?"...