BRICS Summit | Amidst the train accident, the foreign minister’s big statement, said- India no longer drags along at a slow pace

File Photo Johannesburg: In the midst of the Odisha train accident, a big statement has come from Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. He said on Saturday that India was no longer a country that trudged along at a relatively slow pace. Jaishankar said this on the last day of his three-day visit to South Africa for the BRICS summit. “This is no longer the India that trudged along at a relatively slow pace. When it comes to digital, I can say with confidence that what I am seeing in India, I am not seeing in Europe and North America as well.” Jaishankar said, “When we talk about the pace of change in these nine years, the change happening in India at this level is really impressive and huge and the Indian community living abroad and India’s well-wishers abroad are also impressed. There is a need to understand this. He was speaking at an event organized in his honor by the local and expatriate community in Cape Town on Saturday evening. He also talked about the special relationship between India and South Africa. Jaishankar was in Johannesburg for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping meeting organized by South Africa. Emphasizing on the achievements of the Modi government in nine years to enhance the self-reliance of Indians, Jaishankar said it was not a protectionist effort. He said, “A self-reliant India is not a protectionist India that is closing itself off to the world. This is an India that is actually building more in India, building more for the world and building more with the world.” He said India’s foreign direct investment last year was $86 billion, the highest in the world. Talking about India’s vision for the next 25 years, the External Affairs Minister said that it is important to show today’s generation that they have the potential to do big things on a big scale. He also talked about the special relationship between India and South Africa which will celebrate 30 years of new diplomatic relations. Due to apartheid, there was a break in diplomatic relations between the two countries for almost four decades. Jaishankar said, “As soon as we became independent and supported South Africa in its struggle against apartheid, the symbols of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi took very deep roots.” He said that today the trade between the two countries is about $18 billion. In his address, he also spoke on international issues, cricket, reintroducing cheetahs in India and cooperation between the two countries in myriad areas like COVID-19 vaccines at various forums. On difficulties being faced in obtaining visa to visit South Africa, Jaishankar said India has an e-visa system for South African applicants which works very well and quickly. (agency)

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