Jaishankar’s Sharp Retort: ‘Big Bullies don’t give $4.5 Billion aid,’ targets Maldives – Watch

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In a recent statement, India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, responded to allegations of India being perceived as a “bully” in the region, particularly amidst tensions with the Maldives. Speaking at an event promoting his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’, Jaishankar shed light on India’s significant role in providing aid and nurturing relationships with its neighbors.

The backdrop of this discourse lies in a diplomatic spat that emerged when three Maldivian ministers faced suspension due to derogatory remarks directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This incident strained relations between India and the Maldives.

Jaishankar’s response was forthright and direct. He highlighted India’s substantial contributions to regional stability and development, emphasizing the $4.5 billion aid provided during times of crisis and the provision of vaccines amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. He juxtaposed this with the rhetoric of “big bullies,” suggesting that such actions were incongruent with the behavior of a bully.

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In his own words, Jaishankar stated, “The big change today in this part of the world is what has happened between India and its neighbours. When you say India is perceived as a big bully, you know, big bullies don’t provide $4.5 billion when the neighbours are in trouble.”

Here’s EAM Jaishankar’s response to Maldives “Big bully” claim: 

EAM Jaishankar responds to a question on India being a bully in the region: “Big bullies don’t provide $4.5 billion when their neighbours are in trouble. Bullies don’t supply vaccines to other countries when Covid is on”
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A very good story to tell: Jaishankar 

Moreover, Jaishankar underscored the tangible improvements in India’s relations with neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives. He pointed out the establishment of power grids, roads, railways, and the enhancement of trade and investment, indicating a positive trajectory in regional cooperation.

Jaishankar reiterated, “Today, at the connectivity (side), just the volume of people is moving up and down. The volume of the trade and the investments which are there, it’s actually a very good story to tell.”

While acknowledging challenges in certain bilateral relationships, Jaishankar expressed optimism for the future of diplomacy. He emphasized the importance of continued engagement and dialogue to overcome differences and foster stronger ties.

The recent announcement by Maldives President Mohamad Muizzu regarding the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the island nation adds another layer to the ongoing dynamics between the two countries. Muizzu’s decision, widely seen as a move towards reducing foreign military presence and possibly aligning more closely with China, further underscores the complexity of regional geopolitics.

Jaishankar’s remarks offer insights into India’s approach to regional diplomacy, emphasizing collaboration, aid, and mutual benefit. As tensions persist in certain quarters, dialogue and engagement remain key to navigating the intricacies of regional dynamics.

India’s stance reflects a commitment to fostering peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region, while also asserting its role as a responsible global actor.

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