NEW DELHI: The entire neighbourhood, minus one, has been a fairly good story for regional cooperation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.
"I would say the entire neighbourhood, minus one, had actually been a fairly good story of regional cooperation," Jaishankar said in reference to Pakistan. Responding to a question at a session of the World Economic Forum here, Jaishankar also said that the Kashmir issue did come up in meetings with the US.
Jaishankar also asserted that Indian nationalism is not against being global and maintained that Indian diplomacy would like to stick to a "softer and collaborative" approach towards other countries as a policy.
"In a way, we are a standout, we are an exception. Because, in this country you could say, we are more nationalistic but at the same time being internationational in the sense of dealing more with the world," Dr Jaishankar told Norwegian politician and President of World Economic Forum Borge Brende in a question-answer session during the World Economic Summit here.
"Nationalism is not a kind of a negative sentiment directed at the world," he said adding people in India generally feel that "if you are going up, you should be doing more things with the world and not less".
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He said old ways of working in diplomacy will not go away "but they will be tempered by creative, innovative and ad hoc kind of arrangements often centring around issues". Dr Jaishankar, a former diplomat-turned Minister, said, "the character of diplomacy will change in many ways".
To a question, External Affairs Minister said as a country which wants to influence the world, it ought to start 'influencing the neighbourhood'. "We are us, we are not some other country. And I think on whole lot of other areas, my own sense is as India becomes bigger, the fact is we will find that concepts and analytics which are developed for other countries will not necessarily apply to us," he maintained.
Dr Jaishankar said India does not adhere to the idea of imposing its views on connectivity and development on others.
"We would rather say, we have a development partnership. In fact, that's exactly what my Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) said when he went to Africa last year when he said, 'Look we are prepared to do very much more in Africa, but we would like to know what you want'," the minister said.
"That's very much like our manner of doing things. I would say softer, a more collaborative, more co-owned," he said adding in assertive tone - "Look, this is us; other countries may legitimately differ".
In this context, he said "If you go to Afghanistan, it is not a story which always comes in the headlines. But I would say with a degree of confidence that probably more Afghans know about what India has done in terms of development than most other countries".