India seeks to add non-western layer to world architecture: Jaishankar

Speaking at the Hudson Institute, he says India would like to add a non-western layer to the existing world architecture, rather than pulling down the entire system

Updated - September 30, 2023 01:22 am IST

Published - September 29, 2023 08:30 pm IST - Washington DC

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during a discussion at Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. on September 29, 2023.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during a discussion at Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. on September 29, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

India would like to add a non-western layer to the existing world architecture, rather than pulling down the existing system, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday in Washington DC. He was speaking at the Hudson Institute on ‘India’s Role in a New Pacific Order’.

Mr. Jaishankar said the world today (i.e., the world order) was largely a Western construct but India was not approaching it with a “pull down the pillars” approach.

“So I make this very important distinction where India’s concerned: India is non-western, India is not anti-western,” the Minister said. He was responding to a question characterising India’s approach as reformist, rather than revisionist.

New Delhi was trying to refresh institutions and make them more fit-for-purpose, he said, citing the examples of reforming the World Bank so it can help respond to climate change or the demands of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Mr. Jaishankar pointed out that the fifth largest economy (India) and a continent of more than fifty countries (Africa) had no permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council.

Maintaining stability as the balance of power changes, building resilient supply changes, the promotion of trust in the digital arena, and the over-concentration of production (presumably a reference to China), and the leveraging of that capacity, were some of the main challenges today in the Pacific, according to Mr. Jaishankar.

“If you put it together, I would suggest to you that the world is badly in need of some form of re-globalisation,” the Minister said.

India’s activities today had an increased emphasis on the east, “into the Pacific and beyond”, according to Mr. Jaishankar. India contributing more to a Pacific order reflected the rebalancing underway today.

“A rebalancing in which the changed capabilities, positioning, and attitudes of the United States is the central driving factor,” the Minister said. “But also one in which the rise of China and its implications is obviously a very, very crucial issue,” he added.

On the U.S.-India relationship, Mr. Jaishankar remarked that while the U.S. and India have been “dealing” with each other for years, they have only been “working” with each other in the last few years.

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