New York: Emphasising that a self-reliant India should not be mistaken as “economic protectionism,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said India is open to collaborations but on its terms, on its strategic pathways.
“That is one of the differences today in India. We speak today of self-reliant India. A lot of people mistake it for economic protectionism. Actually, this is a time when we are very active in inviting foreign investment and seeking foreign technologies. We actually have incentive schemes in areas like semiconductors,” Jaishankar said during a conversation at the Council on Foreign Relations here.
“But what we want them to do is to come collaborate with us. Do it in a way on our terms. And on our strategic pathway, rather than make us a part of their strategy,” he said on Tuesday in response to a question during the interaction at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jaishankar was replying when he was asked about his perspective as to how India charted its own pathway after Pokhran (when India had conducted the nuclear test) 25 years ago and how some of those lessons have been useful, particularly technology, such as 5G and AI.
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Self-reliant India, a.k.a. ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is the Modi government’s ambitious approach emphasising maximum indigenisation in production with the Government of India launching the ‘Make in India’ scheme to promote domestic manufacture through manufacturing units and plants in India, eventually decreasing dependency on imports.
The External Affairs Minister, who was here to participate at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), gave an elaborate explanation on how India was ill-prepared vis-a-vis Covid infrastructure and how it tided over the problem and then went on to explain the approach for other fields.
“There was a time when people said, your 5G options are either China or Europe. Perhaps to our own surprise, we have actually proven that we are capable of devising and deploying our own 5G technology. Whether it is development, whether it is security, whether it is policy choices, maybe on climate action, on food security or maybe on energy,” he said.
“I think it is important for a country like India to think through itself. I am not saying that other peoples’ experiences don’t matter, they do. We are also very active and open to best practices around the world. Every day you learn something from someone different,” the Minister said and asserted, “But at the end of the day, we have to think through for ourselves, which means, you need to have that mindset … that mindset that you need to find out your own solutions.”