'Bharat First', 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' to be guiding axioms of India's foreign policy: Jaishankar

08:12 AM Jun 12, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: “Bharat First” and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family) will be the two guiding axioms of India’s foreign policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday as he began his second term in office.


The focus of the new government will be to position India as a “Vishwa Bandhu” (friend of the world) in a turbulent and divided world facing conflicts and tensions.

Jaishankar, 69, was among the senior BJP leaders including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman who retained the ministries they handled in the previous government.

“Looking ahead, definitely, I think the two axioms that the prime minister has given us — Bharat First and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — will be the two guiding axioms of Indian foreign policy,” he said.

“Together, we are very confident it will position us as ‘Vishwa Bandhu’ …. in a very turbulent world, in a very divided world, a world of conflicts and tensions,” he told reporters.


“It would actually position us as a country which is trusted by many, whose prestige and influence will grow, whose interests will be advanced,” he said.

Jaishankar also welcomed his ministerial colleagues Pabitra Margherita and Kirti Vardhan Singh to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Margherita, a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, and Singh, who won the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda constituency, are the new ministers of state in the MEA.

“It is for me an immense honour, a very great privilege to be once again given the responsibility of leading the Ministry of External Affairs. You all know that in the last term, this ministry actually performed exceptionally well,” Jaishankar said.

“It rose to many challenges. We delivered where the G20 presidency was concerned,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of India’s “Neighborhood First” policy, Jaishankar referred to New Delhi inviting leaders of the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Seychelles and Mauritius to the swearing-in ceremony of Modi and the Union Council of Ministers.

“All our neighbours came (to the swearing-in) and the prime minister himself met all of them. I can tell you, they are leaving with a sense that our neighbouring relationships will be the first priority and will be the overriding priority of the Modi government,” he said.

Asked whether the new government will push for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council, Jaishankar did not give a direct reply and said the country’s influence is steadily growing.

“I think for us the role of India, the influence of India that has been steadily growing, not just in terms of our own perception, but if you see what other countries are saying about us,” he said.

“They too feel that India is truly their friend, they have seen how in times of trouble if there was one country that stood with the Global South, it is India,” he added.

“They have seen that during our presidency of the G20, we took forward the membership of the African Union. The world believes in us and our responsibilities are increasing,” Jaishankar said.

Later, Jaishankar held a meeting with ministers of state and senior officials.

“Chaired a meeting of senior officials of #TeamMEA today, accompanied by colleagues MoS @KVSinghMPGonda & MoS @PmargheritaBJP

“Discussed our vision of Vishwabandhu that is being achieved through implementing Bharat First and Vasudaiva Kutumbakam,” he posted on X.

As the external affairs minister since 2019, Jaishankar displayed with confidence his ability to clearly articulate India’s positions on a range of complex issues on the global stage.

From blunting western criticism of New Delhi’s procurement of crude oil from Moscow in the wake of the war in Ukraine to crafting a firm policy approach to deal with an assertive China, Jaishankar emerged as one of the leading ministers with an impressive record of performance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s previous government.

He has also been credited with managing to bring matters of foreign policy to domestic discourse, especially during India’s presidency of the G20.

Currently, he is a member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Jaishankar served as India’s foreign secretary under the first Modi government (2015-18) and as the Ambassador to the United States (2013-15), China (2009-2013) and the Czech Republic (2000-2004).

He was also India’s high commissioner to Singapore (2007-2009).

Jaishankar has also served in other diplomatic assignments in Embassies in Moscow, Colombo, Budapest and Tokyo, as well as in the Ministry of External Affairs and the President’s Secretariat.


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