International financial institutions vital to addressing global challenges: S. Jaishankar

India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar during a press conference on September 29, 2023, at the Embassy of India in Washington DC. Also seen in photo India’s Ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: Considering the heightened concern of resource scarcity, India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said the “Only global solution to resources are actually international financial institutions” expressing the belief that the engagement of these institutions is key to tackling the ongoing global challenges.

To a question from News India Times on the effectiveness of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in supporting developing nations meet their goals, Jaishankar noted, “I don’t think any other institution really compares with them in terms of their scale, in terms of their effectiveness, in terms of their track record, and in terms of the credibility to expand and make an impact from all these issues in the world.”

Jaishankar, who responded to questions at a press conference on September 29, 2023, at the Embassy of India, said that during the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit, the reform of the international financial institutions was discussed, and that the G20 through its “Collective effort” has been working on to identify solutions before India hands over the Presidency to Brazil in December.

He further said in today’s discourse on sustainable development and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, there is a focus on resource allocation, green development, and the establishment of digital public infrastructure in developing nations. As such, it is vital that these ambitious plans and aspirations must be accompanied by adequate resourcing to avoid them being mere dreams, underscoring the urgency of addressing these issues seriously.

“So, I’m not saying that there are no other alternatives. There are and we are part of some of them. But I think we need to take a very objective view of the relative weight and the relative influence of various institutions out there…” he said. “How to expand the capital base of the World Bank and how to make it more active and effective and work in a better way, I think it’s a very, very important question.”

About the ongoing issue with Canada, Jaishankar said, “Our diplomatic missions and our diplomatic personnel have been consistently and continuously intimidated in Canada… we’ve had to temporarily suspend our visa operations” emphasizing that it is evident that the current work environment is unsafe and poses a risk to diplomats carrying out their tasks effectively.

He said, “There is today a climate of violence,” while pointing out the current prevalence of a violent atmosphere noting instances of smoke bomb threats and violent actions against Indian missions. “Individuals have been targeted and intimidated. There are posters put up about people. Do you consider this normal?”

Explaining India’s position on this ongoing issue, he observed, “Our point is this. Look, there may be an individual incident. Yes, if there is an incident and there is an investigation and there are allegations, there are processes involved. I mean, nobody is disputing them.”

Jaishankar stressed that he “Flagged” to the Canadians that, “We are a democracy. We don’t need to learn from other people what freedom of speech is about. But we can tell people this – we don’t think freedom of speech extends to incitement of violence… that was a misuse of freedom, it’s not a defense of freedom.” He further added, “And I always ask people one question, how would you react if you were in my shoes? If it [were] your diplomats, your embassies, your people? What would be your reaction?”

On whether the issue with Canada was raised in his meetings with US officials, he said,“It’s an ongoing conversation.” At the same time, he continued “Our relationship has many dimensions, many areas of cooperation… when we look at the world there are convergences and intersections of interest where we work very closely, and we are doing all of that…”

“I don’t want you to think that in the India-US relationship, there’s only one issue. So, I would say yes, it’s a conversation. It’s an ongoing conversation,” he added.

About the Indo-Pacific strategy, he said “We think the Indo-Pacific [strategy] is very rational. Now, if you see in the last few years, it doesn’t just us and the other Quad countries. You can see that EU has an Indo-Pacific strategy. Individual European countries I think Germany, France, and Netherlands have… the ASEAN as an Indo-Pacific outlook. So, I guess a very large part of the world is buying into the Indo-Pacific.”



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