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S Jaishankar On West’s Poll Critique

Lowest Turnout More Than Your Highest: S Jaishankar On West's Poll Critique

Mr Jaishankar said the decisions the government will be making are not just for the next five years.


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has hit out at the Western media, emphasising that they criticise our democracy because they think they are also political players in our election and not because they lack information.

Addressing a forum for nationalist thinkers in Hyderabad on Tuesday, the minister said, “I get a lot of these noises from the Western press and if they criticise our democracy, it’s not because they lack information. It is because they think they are also political players in our election.”

Mr Jaishankar said that in an article by the Western media, they asked why elections were being held amid a heatwave in India. “Now I read that article and I wanted to say listen, in that heat my lowest turnout is higher than your highest turnout in the best run,” Mr Jaishankar said.

He added that these are games that are being played.

“These are politics. These are our domestic politics which is going global, global politics which feels they must now intrude in India. How can these chaps decide who should be ruling without consulting us?” he said.

“They (West) actually think they are part of our electorate… I think it’s time today that we disabuse them and the best way that we do that, is by confidence,” Mr Jaishankar stressed.

The minister emphasised the need to stand up to these kinds of attacks and criticisms and rankings and reports because they will question everything.

“They will question your election system, your EVM, your election commission, even the weather,” he said.

“And one complaint is…it is so unfair, BJP thinks it’s going to win very big,” he said, adding that, in a kind of way, today, we are at a very important inflexion point.

Mr Jaishankar said that the decisions the government will be making are not just for the next five years, but will give our nation, our society, and our coming generations a very big vote of confidence.

“It is the guarantee, the guarantee is an expression of confidence. It is an expression of confidence based on what we have delivered for the last ten years,” he added.

He highlighted how India has been regarded across the world in the past ten years, how the country is today preparing for the next 25 years is the mindset with which we need to approach the world.

Moreover, recalling the G20 Summit, Mr Jaishankar said that during the presidency, several countries wanted to connect to India.

“During our G20 presidency, a number of countries, but particularly this was an initiative called IMEC through Saudi Arabia, they wanted to connect India to Europe. Russia and Iran also want a connectivity passage to Europe. In the east, countries like Vietnam, and Cambodia, want a passage through Myanmar to India,” he said.

Lauding India’s prominence on the global stage, Mr Jaishankar said that there is a lot of interest in somehow accessing India, connecting to India and working with India

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the minister said, “It is the combination of all of this and, as I said, the stature which the Prime Minister personally commands…I see that because I travel with him often.”

Recalling when India got the G20 presidency, Mr Jaishankar said, “When we got our G20 chair presidency, it was on December 1, 2022. I think most of the world said, you know, I don’t know where you guys got stuck. You know how this is going to happen. You are going to have a really difficult time managing this. And yet, actually, when the G20 summit met, within the first day, we were actually able to forge a consensus.”

He further emphasised that when something happens, people can only see the final outcome and not the work done behind the scenes.

“It’s worth thinking why? Because when something happens, we think it’s natural. It’s not natural. Something happens behind the scenes, you are only seeing the final production, but behind the scenes there is a lot of work,” he said.

The fact is, when the G20 met, there was a lot of respect in the rest of the world “for PM Modi personally and for Modi’s Bharat”, Mr Jaishankar stressed.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)