Swaraj said that the time terror was seen as other people’s problem is ‘long gone’ and that ‘zero tolerance is the call of the day’.
New Delhi: External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday indirectly reiterated India’s position on China’s belt and road initiative and said that if connectivity is “not well thought through”, it can be a “constrain” if it isn’t done through a consultative process.
In a speech at the third Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual geopolitical conference which this year has the theme, ‘Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms’, Swaraj spoke of how connectivity can be a disruptor, but termed terrorism the “mother of all disruptions”.
In another veiled reference, the Indian foreign minister hit out at Pakistan, saying that terrorism from “governed spaces” is more dangerous with active support and sponsorship from states. “To expect that an activity which draws on all the ills of the world – fanaticism, crime, bloodshed and illegal trade – will not have a corrosive impact beyond its intended arena is unrealistic. Nor will it spare its originators and practitioners. Ensuring zero-tolerance towards terrorism is the call of the day,” she said.
Connectivity and territorial integrity
On connectivity, Swaraj said that it has to be based on “norms of transparency, good governance, commercial viability, fiscal responsibility and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
This is a reprise of India’s position on connectivity, which it had made clear ahead of the 2017 Belt and Road summit organised by Beijing when New Delhi boycotted the event. Incidentally, the first Raisina Dialogue was the platform that India first used to express its concerns about China’s mega connectivity project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also brought up similar concerns in his inaugural speech at the second edition of Raisina Dialogue last year.
Batting for establishing global norms, she stated that the role of multilateral institutions in building connectivity is important. A “related concern”, Swaraj highlighted, is the “safety and security of the global commons”. This “shifting sense of responsibility towards global governance”, she noted, is particularly being perceived in the maritime domain. Asserting that world “should not exist on the caprice of national decisions alone”, Swaraj said, “a more consensual effort to address global challenges of maritime security is as important as towards climate change, nuclear proliferation or terrorism”.
Alluding to the current geopolitics with the rise of China, she asserted that rising powers “naturally seek to exert greater influence and create eco-systems, more favourable to themselves”.
“In contrast, societies with a more defensive mindset are today struggling to protect their interests, even if it means moving away from political correctness. In a historical sense, we can see this, as a natural rise and decline of societies,” said Swaraj.