Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a very strong understanding of global politics and his statement “this is not an era of war” summed up global sentiment on the Russia-Ukraine war, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said today.
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, the minister said, “Just that one sentence, which he said when he was meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand… In a way, if I were to take a single sentence of global sentiment… Global sentiment today does not envisage conflict or war as a solution, because it has so many consequences for everybody’s life. I would say he, in that one sentence, articulated what were the views of very diverse countries.”
Mr Jaishankar described PM Modi as someone who has a lot of interest in foreign policy. “And not just now. I first met him in 2011, he was in China for a few days and I was the ambassador. I found him very interested, very insightful but very willing to learn, so it was a mix of all of that. Since then, in the past ten years, I travel a lot with him. A lot of his travels are (about) constantly trying to understand what’s happening where and what’s new. He is constantly looking at best practices.”
Stating that the Prime Minister is someone who is very committed to building India, the minister said he is a person with great curiosity who is very open to learning new things. He said PM Modi gives a lot of time to foreign policy because we are living in a globalised world.
“I got to know him really well only after I became foreign secretary. I did not know how much he had travelled before, what his experiences were, how much he had picked up, what his connections were. I am still amazed at the people that he knows and the places he has been. There is a lot to him which, perhaps, only those who know him well really get,” said Mr Jaishankar.
The minister cited India’s handling of G20 as an example of the PM’s interest in the world. “Our motto is one family, one future. We are doing our presidency in a truly global manner. Today, you actually have someone who has thought this through and said, when I go out there, I am not only speaking for 1.4 billion Indians but I am also speaking for 125 other countries because they are not on the table and they need somebody to speak for them,” he said.
Speaking on the successful Chandrayaan-3 landing during the BRICS summit, Mr Jaishankar said that, by the second day, the talk in the summit had shifted to the mission.
The minister said, “By that evening, the speech which South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gave, it was like everybody felt part of Chandrayaan. In fact, he said ‘I am going to sit next to Prime Minister Modi and I hope some of it will rub off on me’.”