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Countries “cherry pick” principles when it suits them: Jaishankar in Japan defends India’s stance on Russia

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has defended India’s stance on Russia amidst ongoing Ukraine conflict, stating that people tend to “cherry-pick principles” when it suits them and ignore them when it doesn’t.

Jaishankar, who is currently on a visit to Japan while responding to a question at the Nikkei Forum on India-Japan Special Strategic Partnership, said that Indian territory has been occupied by another country but the world has maintained silence over the matter.

The foreign minister was asked during the interaction whether India’s decision to not criticise Russia and its territorial violation of Ukraine, should be taken to be “double-standards.”

“My position would be that the world is a complicated place, and there are many important principles and beliefs in the world. What happens sometimes in world politics is countries pick one issue, one situation, one principle, and they highlight it because it suits them,” Jaishankar said.

“But if one looks at the principle itself, we in India know better than almost any other country because immediately after our independence, we experienced aggression, we experienced an effort to change our boundaries. And even today, parts of India are occupied by another country. But we did not see the world response saying, oh, there’s a great principle involved, and therefore, let us all go with India,” he said.

“Yes, today we are being told that there are principles involved. I wish I’d seen that principle in play for the last 80 years. I’ve seen those principles cherry-picked when it suits people and not when it doesn’t suit people…”He further reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that we do not believe that this is an era of war and the conflict should be resolved. “I’m not advocating it should be done to everybody else. We have been very clear. My prime minister has stood next to President Putin and has said that we do not believe that this is an era of war. We are today to resolve this conflict,” he said.

“We want to see the end to this conflict, but we believe that every conflict finally ends at some kind of people comes to the table. That’s how conflicts end,” Jaishankar added.

The foreign minister also stressed that a conflict can be decided on the battlefield, “but we don’t think this conflict will be decided on the battlefield.”

Jaishankar had previously too defended India’s position on Russia. In an interview to a German newspaper Handelsblatt during his visit to the Munich Security Conference this February, Jaishankar said that India doesn’t expect Europe to have a New Delhi-centric view of China and Europe should also understand that India won’t move with the European view of Russia.

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