S Jaishankar On Russia References In ‘Delhi Declaration’

'Bali Was Bali. This Is Delhi': S Jaishankar On Russia References In 'Delhi Declaration'

Mr Jaishankar said China was “very supportive of the outcomes” of the New Delhi Declaration.

New Delhi:

Achieving a consensus on the New Delhi Declaration in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war and “the strong views about it” required considerable time in the last few days, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday. 

Asked about China’s take on the declaration, which is being seen as a major diplomatic victory for India, Mr Jaishankar said that it was “very supportive of the outcomes”. 

The minister’s statement assumes importance given the speculation in various quarters that Russia and China were unlikely to sign the declaration. Days before the summit began, a senior US official had also hinted at this and said that it was difficult to get “20 clocks to chime at the same time.”

John Kirby, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, had said that the summit could end without a joint declaration because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“Often times the sticking point tends to be the war in Ukraine because countries like Russia and China are less likely to sign on to language that the rest of the international community is more comfortable signing on to, so we’ll see where it goes. But we’d like to see that, absolutely,” Mr Kirby had said. 

China’s support for the declaration also comes at a time when India has strongly objected to its new “standard map” in which it has depicted Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region as part of its territory. The prolonged border stand-off in eastern Ladakh is another huge sticking point in India’s ties with the country.

When a reporter compared the New Delhi Declaration with the one at the G20 Summit in Bali last year and asked whether references to Russia and its aggressions had been kept out to get the country to sign on, Mr Jaishankar said “Bali was Bali, New Delhi is New Delhi”. 

“Bali was a year ago, the situation was different and many things have happened since then. In fact, if you see, in the geopolitical segment of the declaration, there are eight paragraphs, seven of which actually focus on the Ukraine issue. Many of them highlight problems which are of great contemporary significance,” he said.

“One should not have a theological view of this. I think the New Delhi declaration responds to the situation and concerns as they are today just as the Bali declaration did in a situation which was there a year ago,” the minister added. 

In the Bali declaration, a paragraph had said the group “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine”.

The New Delhi declaration, while making a reference to Bali, states “Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety.”

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