Noting that India should look at its national interests effectively and be less concerned about “giving gyan” to the world over foreign policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that the government is “very, very focussed” in its diplomacy.
Replying to the debate on Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022, the minister said the legislation seeks to address “something missing in the current law”.
Responding to the points made by the members, the minister also made a veiled reference to China’s opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
“There is a reason, and many of you are aware of why that consensus is not there. There are countries which genuinely have concerns which they are willing to debate; there are countries which seem to have another agenda and are creating blocks to the consensus. So, it is something that we are working on,” he said.
The minister said that since 2014, India has become a member of the MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group.
“So our role in global arms control, disarmament, proliferation regimes, and initiatives is very strong today. Our reputation is very good, and I believe that the passage of this Bill will strengthen both our national security and our global reputation,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar rejected allegation of an opposition member that India’s diplomacy was “passive”.
He also referred to a member mentioning former defence minister VK Krishna Menon during the debate.
“Krishna Menon is known for a record of giving the world’s longest speech in the United Nations. I assure you, I can say the same in six minutes. Today, we should be less concerned about giving ‘gyan’ to the world over foreign policy. We should play our role. We should make our contributions. We should look at our national interest. I wish you do this effectively,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“The point I want to make is that we are today in diplomacy very, very focussed. In the morning, we had discussed one aspect of our diplomacy. Today, we are looking at a policy and legal issue which is very pointedly aimed at something else,” he said.
The minister had earlier in the day replied to the debate on the Ukraine situation in the Lok Sabha.
The bill prohibits making available funds, financial assets or economic resources for any prohibited activity in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
The minister said many other countries have specific legislation.
“FATF evaluates whether countries are responsible in terms of their financial policy. The FATF has a recommendation number 7 which says that countries should implement targeted financial action to comply with Security Council Resolution and that they should freeze without delay funds and assets and ensure no funds and assets are made available, directly or indirectly, to any person or entity dealing with WMD,” he said.
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