BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav today said India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become a “confident and pro-active” nation that knows “how to handle Doklams”, but has stopped dictating terms like a ‘big brother’ to sovereign neighbours as was being done by the previous governments. The ‘cold war mentality’ — if you are not with me, you are my enemy; and we are scared of you if you are talking to another country — is no longer our approach, he said, while adding a caveat that India expects its neighbouring countries to recognize its strategic concerns.
Speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Neighbourhood Initiatives of the Modi Government: Challenges and Road Ahead’, Madhav also said that a conducive atmosphere was a necessary pre-requisite for a natural friendship, while referring to Pakistan. He also said the Modi government has applied a policy of “pro-active diplomacy together with strong ground posturing” to deal with the border conflict with China.
Talking about today’s elections in Pakistan, he said, “Every elections we see with lot of hope. Our immediate western neighbour is going to polls today and in Pakistan we do hope that we will have a government that reciprocate to approach of our government. “The approach of sovereign equality, natural friendship — not something based on conditions,” he said.
However, he cleared that for natural friendship to happen a conducive atmosphere is a necessary pre-requisite. “You say no condition, so I will keep killing your people. That is not natural. It is unnatural. But we do hope that we will have a government in Pakistan that will think on same terms,” he added. Madhav further said, “In Nepal if you think that some other country is having more footprint, don’t worry. These countries are sovereign nations and they have their choices. We are confident that when they grow that would benefit them and that will benefit us. And where India’s strategic interests are concerned we know how to handle Doklams.”
India’s ties with China had come under severe strain in the wake of a 73-day-long standoff between forces of the two countries in Doklam last year. Madhav said ‘sovereign equality’ and ‘together we grow’ are two major principles being followed by the current BJP government with regard to the country’s foreign policy and the neighbouring countries are “most happy” with the Prime Minister Modi’s government at the helm.
Taking a dig at the earlier governments, he said, “When you look at your neighbourhood there are countries which we used to think of as our backyard… Our joint secretary in MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) will pick up the phone and call the prime minister (there) and give order to him.”
“We (the BJP-led government) said no, they are sovereign nations and the principle of sovereign equality applies to each and every country, irrespective of size, strength, demography, geography of the nation. No body is big brother here,” he said. On India’s relationship with China, Madhav said the government in last four years has tried to improve relations by applying “pro-active diplomacy together with strong ground posturing” as the policy to deal with the border conflict between the two countries.
“There is a competition between the two countries.We are competing with each other for same resources. “We are both energy guzzlers, big economies, big population. Our needs are the same and we are competing, but we are mature countries and are trying to manage this competition in a manner that would not result in any conflict,” he said.