Nehru’s Kashmir Policy Had Long-Term Impact On Indian Diplomacy, Says Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar discussed the long-term impact of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s handling of the Kashmir situation on Indian diplomacy on Friday (June 30). Jaishankar emphasised the importance of mutual belief in order to have a successful relationship when discussing India’s current relations with China. He went on to discuss India’s diplomatic ties with various countries, emphasising the importance of maintaining balanced relationships while avoiding exclusivity.

Speaking at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in Kolkata, S Jaishankar cited a quote from Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, a prominent Indian political leader, who expressed concerns about Jawaharlal Nehru’s handling of the Kashmir issue in 1953. 

According to Jaishankar, Mukherjee conveyed to Prime Minister Nehru that India’s Kashmir policy had not improved India’s international standing or garnered widespread international sympathy and support. Instead, it had increased domestic and international complications. 

“Even in 1953, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee told Prime Minister Nehru, ‘No one today could claim that your handling of the Kashmir problem has enhanced our international prestige or has won us widespread international sympathy and support.’ Your policy, on the other hand, has added to the complications both at home and abroad,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. 

Talking about India’s diplomatic ties with other countries, Jaishankar said: “…it’s not in our interest to be tied down to exclusive relationships…because we have a tradition of strong ties with Russia, that should not become a burden or an impediment to an equally strong relationship with the United States…I don’t see our relationships as a zero-sum game,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. 

Jaishankar’s comments come just days after he praised India-Russia relations, calling them “steady despite turbulences.” The minister on Tuesday said: “We have made our own assessment of the significance of this over the years. It is a mistake to limit relations with Russia to just defence. Our economic relations with Russia are improving”. 

The minister also underscored India’s credibility as the global south’s voice and its role as a strong democratic power, emphasising the importance of technology in strengthening ties with the developed world.

“Today, we are credible as the voice of the global south. We are also seen as a very strong democratic power. As a result, our technological relevance is critical for the developed world,” Jaishankar added. 

India is now Europe’s largest supplier of refined fuels, as well as a record buyer of Russian crude oil. Europe’s reliance on Indian crude oil products has grown since Russia’s oil embargo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently returned from a three-day State visit to the United States, where he held bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden. The visit of the Prime Minister had a significant impact on technological cooperation.