India’s foreign service not arrogant but confident: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar defends the foreign service described as “arrogant” by Rahul Gandhi.

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar defends the foreign service described as “arrogant” by Rahul Gandhi.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Saturday defended India’s foreign service as “arrogant” by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Mr Gandhi had made the observation of Indian diplomats during a conversation in London on Saturday.

“Yes, the Indian Foreign Service has changed. Yes, they follow government orders. Yes, they counter the arguments of others. No, it’s not called Arrogance. It’s called Confidence. the national interest.” said Mr. Jaishankar.

Mr Gandhi spoke of the greater need to use conversation to navigate through the challenges facing the contemporary world and recalled the critical impressions of European bureaucrats on Indian diplomats.

“I was talking to bureaucrats in Europe and they said the Indian foreign service has completely changed and won’t listen to anything, they are arrogant. Now they just tell us what orders they get, there is no conversation you can’t do that,” Mr Gandhi said at the Ideas for India conference in London.

Indian diplomats have recently made headlines due to difficult public exchanges with colleagues from other countries. Chinese diplomats, for example, are known to practice an aggressive style called “wolf warrior diplomacy,” but Indian officials have until recently avoided public bickering or combative exchanges.

This change in style of negotiations was spearheaded by Dr. Jaishankar himself who repeatedly gave hard-hitting answers to Western powers whenever they questioned India’s neutrality in the face of the Russian invasion of India. ‘Ukraine.

Asked about India’s decision to deepen energy trade with Russia even as Moscow bombed Ukrainian cities, Mr Jaishankar defended India’s position during a press event in the United States on the sidelines of the last “2+2” ministerial dialogue between India and the United States and said: “If you are looking at energy purchases (from India) from Russia, I suggest that you turn your attention to the “Europe. We buy some of the energy needed for our energy security. But I suspect, given the numbers, that our purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”

The minister’s comparison between “European afternoon” and “Indian month” challenged Europe’s position, which aimed to isolate Russia while buying large volumes of energy from Moscow. A similar style of “war of words” was used by India’s permanent representative TS Tirumurti to the UN in the first week of May. After Dutch envoy Karel van Oosterom posted a comment on social media about India abstaining from a vote on Ukraine, Mr Tirumurti hit back saying: “Please don’t dating us, Ambassador. We know what to do.”

These remarks have sometimes aroused the admiration of certain political sections. Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi had called Mr Jaishankar’s defense of India’s energy trade with Russia “superb”.

Mr. Gandhi, however, indicated his choice to articulate India’s position on Ukraine and controversial global issues through traditional foreign policy formulations: “There are structures that we have used. The idea of ​​Panchsheel is there, the idea of ​​neutrality is there,” Mr Gandhi said urging India to address the complexities through conversation.

Rahul Gandhi’s comment was amplified by former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid who referred to Mr Jaishankar’s long career as a foreign service official and said: “Surprised by the response of the Foreign Minister external to Rahul Gandhi’s statement on EU officials’ assessment of our incumbent diplomats. Was the national interest also paramount during his time at IFS?”