• youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

“There’s today momentum in India which has to be experienced to be believed”: Jaishankar in Singapore

Jaishankar is on an official visit to Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia from 23 to 27 March 2024.

Singapore: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said there’s today momentum in India which has to be experienced to be believed and the country is going to be a much bigger economy in the coming years.

Jaishankar, who reached Singapore earlier today as part of his three-nation visit, said apart from increase in ease of living and ease of doing business, India is ramping up its infrastructure through initiatives such as PM Gati Shakti.

“It’s a nice way of saying that we will be more in your life than earlier, why would we be more in your life because we are going to have a much bigger economy…There’s today a momentum in India which has to be experienced to be believed. Today, it’s a country that builds eight new airports in a year, 28 km of highways every day and for the last 10 years, it has built 2 colleges a day,” Jaishankar said in his remarks at the Institute of South Asian Studies of National University of Singapore. He was speaking on ‘Why Bharat Matters’.

He also recalled India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country reaching out to other countries through vaccines.

“We were very major producers of vaccines and as a minister, I was in the group of five ministers whom the PM Modi had tasked to deal with the COVID-19. One part of it was watching this pandemic come towards you, trying to prepare a country in terms of public health capabilities and other responses which were required at that time…However, once we started responding, other aspects of globalisation were also visible and that also told us why foreign policy mattered,” Jaishankar said.

Reflecting on the global community’s shared experience, Jaishankar said the dominant collective experience in recent past has been COVID-19.

“Communities of the world, the challenges of the world, and particularly in the last five years, definitely in the last ten, I think we have, each of us, in our own lives, experienced this very graphically. The dominant collective experience, of course, for all of us, has been the COVID it…

“And when one thinks about it, my mind goes back to early January of 2020, when we first started reading about the outbreak of COVID. And I don’t think any of us could have imagined at that time how all-consuming it would be, how it would take over our lives, what we would each one, because I can’t imagine there’s actually anybody whose life was untouched by the COVID in some form,” he added.

Jaishankar also talked of lessons concerning globalisation in reference to the pandemic.

“On the one hand, the globalisation of the world was demonstrated by the nature in the manner in which the pandemic itself spread. So too was the fact that we were all so extraordinarily reliant for our daily necessities on one part of the global geography,” he said.

“Now, it’s not that pandemics have not happened before. Something somewhat similar happened almost exactly a century ago, the Spanish flu. But the intensity of this one, the speed at which it spread, the manner in which it affected its lives, was something really very unprecedented…

“Now, what it also did was it demonstrated to all of us how much things outside our national boundaries mattered, because in different ways, we depended on supplies of various kinds from the rest of the world,” he added.

Jaishankar is on an official visit to Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia from 23 to 27 March 2024.

The visit will focus on enhancing bilateral relations with the three countries, and would provide an opportunity for engagement on regional issues of mutual concern, a Ministry of External Affairs release said earlier.