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S Jaishankar at RNG Lecture: ‘Who doesn’t want good neighbours, but holding feet to fire important’

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the 4th RNG Lecture Thursday (Express Photo)

Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture: Delivering the fourth Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday called for "an honest review of our performance" in the seven decades since independence in a "visibly changing global order".

"National development is at the heart of any assessment, and it is difficult to quarrel with the view that there has been significant progress, but not enough," the minister-diplomat said. "Borders remained unsettled... and past handling of Pakistan raises several questions," he added.

In conversation with C Raja Mohan, Jaishankar lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "bold moves" in dealing with Pakistan. Admitting that the issue has been dealt with in the tenure of every Prime Minister in India, Jaishankar said "holding feet to fire is important."

On the government's 'Look East policy', Jaishankar emphasised on the inclusion of a multi-polar Asia at the core of a multi-polar world, adding that India needs to follow an approach of working with multiple partners on different agendas. "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas is today as relevant in foreign policy."

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Jaishankar also spoke on India's recent withdrawal from the RCEP agreement, and the 1972 Simla agreement, which, he said, "resulted in both a revanchist Pakistan and a continuing problem in Jammu & Kashmir." He was speaking on the topic "Beyond the Delhi Dogma: Indian Foreign Policy in a Changing World".

The first three RNG Memorial Lectures were delivered by then RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, then President Pranab Mukherjee, and outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.