Govt will do whatever necessary to ensure India's security is protected: Jaishankar in RS

 The government will do whatever necessary to ensure that India's security is adequately protected, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Replying to a supplementary during Question Hour, he also assured the house that India is confident that its partners would help deal with regional and global challenges and members should be "reassured of the wisdom of our choices and the strength of our partners".

The minister said he has had good discussions with the visiting US Secretary of State on various global issues including on human rights, democracy, trafficking and big tech, we well as Afghanistan.

"We have a strong defence and security cooperation with the United States. We have policy exchanges, we conduct exercises, especially maritime exercises. The government of India will always do whatever is necessary to ensure that India's security is adequately protected," he told the house when asked if India has sought US help on dealing with China.

He said he held very detailed conversation on a number of issues with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"I had spelled them out and we have highlighted that in our approach to many global issues, we too are guided by our quest for a perfect union, but we seek to right many historical wrongs. But, when it comes to freedom, we should not see freedom as non governance or abdication of responsibilities.

"We believe that our conversation on this subject should be balanced. We also feel that we should have the same standards when they look at the issues and that all conversations should be fact-based," Jaishankar said.

Asked about Quad and its relevance in maintaining maritime security in the South China sea, especially in the wake of China's interference there, he said India has made its choices which serve our national interests on Indo-Pacific ties.

"We look at Quad as a platform where four countries have come together for the good of the world, who are discussing a range of issues, from providing the world with making vaccines, to education, to connectivity, to maritime security. We are very clear what the Quad is.

"I don't think any narrative which not based on reality which seeks to distort what is happening there will ever gain traction," he said.

The External Affairs minister said he is very confident that the real objective view of Quad, which India has put forward, will be accepted by the world.

He said in the policy of this country, to serve its legitimate national security and defence interests through its own efforts, India obviously has many international partners.

"We are very confident of the cooperative outcomes when we work with these partners and we believe that these partners would help deal with many regional and global challenges. I think the member should be reassured of the wisdom of our choices and the strength of our partners," Jaishankar said on how effective Quad would be against Chinese assertiveness in South China Sea.

On Afghanistan, the minister said he has held detailed discussions with the US Secretary of State and has articulated India's position.

"We were very clear that there must be a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan, that there cannot be a military solution and there cannot be a takeover by use of force in Afghanistan," he said.

India will work with the international community to ensure that political negotiations for a settlement are pursued seriously and "we would never accept any outcome which is decided by force", he said.

"I think there was a very strong convergence in our positions - India and the United States, on this issue," the minister said on ensuring peace in Afghanistan.

The minister's reply came amid continued uproar in the house caused by opposition members, who raised slogans in the well during the question hour.

Deputy chairman Harivansh continued to urge protesting members to return to their seats did not yield any result. He also asked members to maintain decorum as some were found whistling in the house.

"Members should adhere to decorum of the house. There should be no whistling. I would have to name the member who is whistling," he warned, as opposition members continued to raise slogans.

In his written reply to a starred question, the External Affairs minister said India and the US stand united in addressing the global scourge of terrorism, inter alia by opposing terrorist safe havens, countering terror financing, and strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups, including those in our immediate neighbourhood.

"India and the U.S. have the shared objective of ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," he said.

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