S Jaishankar has probably been the biggest surprise announcement in this Modi Cabinet. Confirmed as India's new foreign minister, Jaishankar is a former ambassador to the US and China. A dive into a report from our archives to gain an understanding of how he thinks. The report is from October 29, 2018 when he addressed the India Ideas Conclave in New Delhi:
NEW DELHI: Stressing that the country should continue to play its role in shaping the agenda on world issues like it did on environment pollution and terrorism, former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said it's time now that India needs to behave differently, more decisively and punitively.
“In a world becoming increasingly nationalistic, you cannot play well without a strong nationalistic leader,” he said on the ‘Agenda for Global Aspirations of India’ at the India Ideas Conclave here, citing the example of US president Donald Trump.
Jaishankar also asserted that India needs to make difficult choices on regional and international matters, if it wants to realise its global aspirations.
“It is important for this country to behave differently, more decisively and punitively when the occasion warrants,” he said, when asked about how to deal with international transgressions, which some countries such Israel have done effectively.
The ex-foreign secretary said in past two years, a willingness to deal with such matters was visible.
“Historically, we tend to be mistaken towards inaction. We tend to be in a difficult situation and then say the risks of action are so high, let us not do it and find a more engaging way. We are trying to get over it,” he said.
The traditional concepts are no longer effective in guiding policymaking, he said, adding that the world believes individuals who lives up to their aspirations.
“A country which cannot protect itself or seen to be protecting itself and seen to be exacting a price from those who harm it... There is a credibility issue there.”
Notably, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a few days ago also asserted that a strong, assertive government was a must for next 10 years for the country.