Updated March 4th, 2024 at 07:25 IST

'Bullies Don't Provide USD 4.5 Billion Aid': Jaishankar Gives Sharp Rebuttal to Muizzu's Accusation

External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar gave a sharp rebuttal when addressing the allegations that “India was being a bully in the sub-continent”.

Reported by: Digital Desk
External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu | Image:AP/PTI
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New Delhi – External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar gave a sharp rebuttal when addressing the allegations that “India was being a bully in the sub-continent”. While dismissing the allegations the veteran diplomat noted that so-called “big bullies” don't provide USD 4.5 billion to neighbours who are in distress. The proclamation from Jaishankar came at a book launch event which was held in the national capital on Sunday. He also pointed out how India supplies vaccines to other countries when the world was struggling with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The big change today in this part of the world is what has happened between India and its neighbours. When you say India is perceived as a big bully, you know, big bullies don't provide four and a half billion dollars when the neighbours are in trouble. Big bullies don't supply vaccines to other countries when COVID is on or make exceptions to their own rules to respond to food demands or fuel demands or fertilizer demands because some war in some other part of the world has complicated their lives," EAM Jaishankar said at the event on Sunday. "You also have to look today at actually what is changed between India and its neighbours. Certainly, with Bangladesh and Nepal, I mean today you have a power grid, you have roads which didn't exist a decade ago, you have railways which didn't exist a decade ago, there's usage of waterways. Indian businesses use ports of Bangladesh on a national treatment basis," he added. 

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Jaishankar lauds India's effort to increase connectivity with neighbours

During the event, Jaishankar also pointed out how India worked on ensuring greater connectivity with its neighbouring countries to improve trade and other flows. "Today at the connectivity, just the volume of people moving up and down, the volume of the trade which is there, the investments which are there, it's actually a very, very good story to tell. Not just with Nepal and Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka as well, I would say even with Maldives," the EAM emphasised. "And Bhutan...I mean I don't want to miss them out because they have just been consistently strong partners. So our problem in the neighbourhood, very honestly, is with respect to one country. And in diplomacy, you always hold out hopes that, yes, okay, keep at it, and who knows one day what the future holds," he added.

The sharp remarks from Jaishankar over allegations that India “is being a bully” in the region came a month after the new president of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu echoed similar sentiments. Amid the ongoing diplomatic row with India, Muizzu said that Maldives is a small country, but that is not a “license" for anybody to “bully" us. “Though we have small islands in this ocean, we have a vast exclusive economic zone of 9,00,000 square kilometres. Maldives is one of the countries with the biggest share of this ocean. This ocean does not belong to a specific country. This ocean also belongs to all countries situated in it," the Maldivian president averred. 

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 07:17 IST