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“If somebody felt most comfortable in Lutyens’ Delhi, it’s their prerogative”: Jaishankar on criticism for big ticket G20

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New Delhi [India]: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has taken on the opposition for questioning the scale of G20 events. Speaking to media, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that in the past the governments chose to keep the sphere of influence limited.

“If somebody felt that they were most comfortable in Lutyens’ Delhi or completely comfortable in Vigyan Bhavan, that is their prerogative, that was their world. So yes, you have had summit meetings where the impact of the country probably went two kilometres on a good day out of Vigyan Bhavan.

This is a different government. It is a different era. It is a different thought process,” he said in an exclusive interview to media.

The foreign minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted the entire nation to have a sense of participation and ownership of G20.

“The Prime Minister felt, and all of us have worked in that direction, that the G20 is something which should be treated as a national endeavour, that different parts of India must have a sense of participation. And this is something which has been truly, nonpartisan. If you look at the G20 events. A lot of it was held in states which are not ruled by BJP governments,” he said.

“So, and in that sense, the whole idea is to democratise the G20 to make it much more participatory, to give different cities, different states, different professions and generations, a sense of participation and ownership,” the minister added.

The External Affairs minister highlighted the change in mindset that got things moving in the right direction.

“I think it is fundamentally a mindset. It is a mindset of the Prime Minister, it is a mindset of the BJP, it is a mindset of the government. And the mindset is a more democratic mindset, a mindset where you feel it should not be a small clique in one city that controls everything,” he said.

Jaishankar emphasised that in a changing world, the G20 held special interest.

“Compare the G-20 meeting to anything else that has happened, like a NATO meeting, SEO meeting, BRICS meeting, QUAD meeting, or a UN meeting.

Nothing has evoked the kind of attention and focus that the G-20 meeting has, because the world recognizes today that this gathering has a very exceptional importance,” he added.

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