External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recently boycotted a ministerial-level high profile UN Security Council meeting convened by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The snub has left China red-faced as it is UNSC’s President for the month of May. Instead of Jaishankar, it was Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla who attended the meeting.
It is imperative to note that ever since India joined the UNSC as a non-permanent member in January, EAM Jaishankar has participated in every single ministerial-level meetings convened by different presidents since then viz. Tunisia in January, Britain in February and Vietnam in April.
The fact that the meeting was conducted virtually due to the ongoing pandemic and Foreign Ministers needed not to travel to New York, makes Jaishankar’s absence even more visible and simultaneously embarrassing for Beijing.
The EAM’s absence clearly stood out as the virtual meeting was attended by minister-level officials from the other 14 members of the Security Council. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were the other notable ministers in the meet.
Meanwhile, Shringla in his speech at the Council asserted that global vulnerabilities and fault lines had been exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is the lack of a coordinated global response that has exposed the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the multilateral system as it stands today, providing a timely reminder for the pressing need for comprehensive reform,” pointed Shringla.
He further asserted that India provided Covid-19 vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to more than 150 countries and said, “In that same spirit of friendship and solidarity, we extend deep appreciation to those that have come forward to provide us with some priority requirements to battle the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that we are currently facing.”
A year on since China’s failed encroachment attempt in Eastern Ladakh near the Line of Control, New Delhi is still not ready to give a free pass to Xi Jinping. The fact that a China-made pandemic has caused tremendous damage to India’s growth story could also be one of the reasons why Jaishankar gave a hard snub to China and left it red-faced.
As reported by TFI, in January, Jaishankar had listed an eight-point framework for the steps China needed to take to repair bilateral ties with India. Speaking at the online All India Conference of China Studies, Jaishankar had remarked that the principles governing India-China ties, should have a strict adherence to all agreements on the management of the LAC, mutual respect and sensitivity, and recognizing each other’s aspirations as rising Asian powers.
However, China and the Politburo sitting in Beijing did not follow through with the EAM’s demands. Eventually, Jaishankar had to take evasive actions to send a message to China and it appears that by undermining China’s Presidentship in the council, the paper dragon has been rattled.