‘Diplomacy is as old as the human race,’ says Jaishankar in new book ‘Why Bharat Matters'

‘Diplomacy is as old as the human race,’ says Jaishankar in new book ‘Why Bharat Matters'

‘Diplomacy is as old as the human race,’ says Jaishankar in new book ‘Why Bharat Matters'

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has redefined diplomacy in his new book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ with ample examples from the epic Ramayana to take modern readers through India’s foreign policy journey spanning well over 75 years.

“Diplomacy is not modern; it is as old as the human race. It’s a complex skill. An example that people relate to is my mention of Hanuman as a diplomat. I interacted with a lot of young people…To show the power of knowledge, I have approached Vibhishan, not as a defecting brother, but as a source of knowledge in my book,” Jaishankar says in an exhaustive interview with CNN-News18’s Managing Editor Zakka Jacob.

India’s foreign policy has undergone a sea-change in the last ten years along with the country’s outlook as an important player on the global stage. “In a globalised world, foreign policy matters more and more to the average citizen. Things which happen in the far corners of the world impact our lives directly and hence there was a need for a sitting minister to explain the changes in our foreign policy….,” the minister pointed out.

Talking about India’s evolution over the years, he elaborated, “The book looks at the last 10 years of our country, the profound transformation of the country and foreign policy. In a globalised world, foreign policy matters to average citizens too. There can be problems, anxieties and opportunities. The world and India, both are changing. The combination of the two mandated a book.”

“Another example is the four sons of King Dashrath, comparing it to the Quad countries…Not to be taken literally, my point here was to illustrate the comfort of shared values and systems. As we become bigger, our interests are greater and we need more partners. Diplomatically, we face larger issues like whom to partner with on which issue. We are not one of those allied countries which are bound because of any fortune. We have to constantly make that judgment, depending on the issue and the interests of other countries as well as ours. There is a mention of how Raavan sends a sorcerer to break Lord Ram’s alliance. This is all part of international relations,” Jaishankar, arguably one of the finest external affairs ministers the country has had pointed out.

Pointing out that diplomacy has existed ever since the early times of human kind, the minister draws parallels from the Ramayana and its protagonists, “If you look at the world today and say there is a major power which is overconfident, then you have Raavan. He feels he is invulnerable, but he has chinks in his armour. The human race is one of the important chinks. Or the idea of creating coalitions to deal with problems. It is all an idea of diplomacy.”

“The purpose of a book is to communicate. In this book, I am not necessarily trying to communicate with foreign policy heads or academicians, but to the world beyond that. You need to communicate using something people can easily relate to. Foreign policy may be complex to many… So I wanted to use metaphors, analogies and narratives to which any Indian can easily relate. They are not to be taken literally,” he signs off.