New Delhi, Jun 6: People by and large have lauded the manner the Narendra Modi government in last five years has handled its foreign policy, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said on Thursday here and maintained that global re-balancing process has put India on rise along with China.
"Across the world, you have had broadly a growth of nationalism and reasons are very complex, that nationalism has been validated electorally in many places. At one level each is different, but somewhere there is a message out there. Next is actually longer term change is sort of global re-balancing, sharpest manifestation of that is the rise of China, to some extent rise of India as well," Jaishankar said here at a conference organised under the theme 'Changing World, Changing India'.
He said a large majority of people in India have recognised that the country’s stature in the world had risen in the last five years under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
In his first interactions since he joined the Modi Government and assigned the stewardship of Ministry of External Affairs, a former foreign secretary Dr Jaishankar said improving connectivity in South Asia was given emphasis during last five years under Modi and this will be "top priority" under the new dispensation too.
"This is a subject (connectivity in South Asia) which got enough attention in last five years and I am very confident this will be among our top priority in next five years," he said.
Dr Jaishankar maintained that connectivity in the region remained neglected in South Asia for long and there were reasons for that.
It was true the primary responsibility was with India and it was because "we are the largest economy".
He also said it was true that globalisation had come under stress, "many of the assumptions of the globalisation, global supply chains, mobility of talent, market access, all those are no longer assumptions".
"....if we want to propel economic change, I think there is a greater responsibility for Indian foreign policy to focus on external aspects of it, to create partnerships and mechanisms which help Indian businesses do their business outside the country," he said.
He laid down emphasis on "tighter integration" between different ministries and also went onto remark Prime Minister Modi had himself underlined the need for different departments and ministries to work together in the first cabinet meeting held on May 31, a day after swearing in of the new ministry.
"I have been a minister for less than a week and I have already spent more time with the Finance and Commerce ministers than I may have even spent in my own ministry," he said.
Dr Jaishankar admitted there are certain problems with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and said, "I think we all know what it is even if you were to put terrorism issue aside, there are connectivity and trade issues."
The Minister said there is need to incentivise the cooperation in neighbourhood, especially in South Asian context.