Chandrayaan-3 mission had a huge impact on the perception of Indians abroad: Jaishankar

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
10 Min Read


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said the perception of people living abroad has changed after seeing how India handled the Covid-19 pandemic and the country's lunar mission 'Chandrayaan-3' has an impact on Indians living abroad. Has had a wide impact.

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Addressing a program at Kirori Mal College here, Jaishankar said the decisions taken at home are keenly followed by the world.

“We are the largest country in the world. We are the fifth largest economy, soon we will become the third. Everyone abroad keeps an eye on how we perform at home. The world also follows the decisions we take at home very keenly. So, if we are now going to decide our future the way we want in the coming weeks, it is not just a conversation among ourselves. It is a conversation or discussion that also involves six billion other people. All these are really aspects of why India matters,” he said.

The External Affairs Minister said that people across the world are impressed by India's technological achievements. He described Chandrayaan-3 mission and Covid management as one of the most impactful work done by India in the last 10 years.

“Probably those technological feats that we do are actually much more fascinating to the world,” he said. I would say that in the last 10 years, probably the most impressive thing we have done, other than Covid management, was go to the moon. The Chandrayaan-3 mission has had a huge impact on the perception of Indians abroad. And finally, as I said, a lot of it is really about a country standing up for itself, for its interests, for its citizens, in the face of pressure and in a way, you know, The ability to leave a mark of one's own personality and its culture.

Speaking about India's global image in the present times, Jaishankar said the perception of India changed after the way it handled the COVID challenge. He said India started as “a country of great concern” and ended as “the source of greatest support”.

He said, “I want to share with you, as someone who travels a fair amount, what our global image really is today. Because when we say why India matters, ultimately, countries matter because there is a perception, a branding has been created. I thought of six or seven important points today, from my own travel experiences. When any of you go abroad or meet someone from abroad, these are actually their perceptions about India.

“One, I would say the major thing is that this was a country that handled the COVID challenge exceptionally. It started as the country of greatest concern. It ended up being the source of the greatest support. And not just handled Covid, but he actually took the right decisions, which enabled us to become the fastest growing economy, the largest economy in the world today. Because remember, many countries have still not recovered from Covid. “Even today, their economic performance is largely affected by the shock and damage they have suffered during Covid,” Jaishankar said.

He also talked about how India has been bringing its people back home when there is war or any other emergency in another country. He told how Indian students were brought back to India under Operation Ganga. Jaishankar said that there were many countries which told their citizens that they would have to return to their countries themselves.

Jaishankar said, “The second is the way we protect our citizens of India. Believe me, everyone in the world has paid attention to this. You know, many of us are proud of how – I'll give you an example of how we got our students out of Ukraine in Operation Ganga. Like I said, that's fine. But I also want to tell you that there were many countries that actually said to their students and their citizens, sorry guys, I can't do anything. Now you have to find your own way.”

“And these were not developing countries. They were also developed countries that actually said to their people, you are on your own. So, what has changed is that any Indian traveling anywhere has this understanding that look, you know, sometimes people talk about, you know, there is something called passport index. And the passport index is basically based on how many places you don't need a visa for,” he said.

Jaishankar emphasized that the Indian passport is viewed with more respect and it shows that the government stands with the person holding that passport. He said the passport index should include who will come for a person when he is in trouble and whether the system is ready to support you when you go out and called it the “real value of the passport”.

“To me, there is something missing from that index,” he said. I would have told you which passport you are carrying and who will come for you when you are in trouble. And believe me, if you include that factor, you'll get a very different passport index there. Not getting a visa and not being able to travel easily is just part of it.

“What happens when something goes wrong? Who will take care of you? Who has a system in place that is ready to support you when you're out? To me, this is the real value of the passport. And if the Indian passport is viewed with more respect today, as I said, part of it is what you do at home. But the other thing is that people know that this passport means that their government stands behind the person who has the passport,'' he said.

Emphasizing that people abroad are attracted by the way things like the ration card system and election system work in India, Jaishankar said, “The third is our performance domestically. And I often share with my colleagues in the Cabinet and in Parliament that they think that when the External Affairs Minister goes out of India, all the time we discuss foreign policy.

“But in reality, people abroad are extremely attracted to what we are doing at home with the rest of our lives. They want to know how your rationing system works? How does your election system work? You know, how are you getting your gas cylinder? How are you getting your electricity connection? The reason why it's changed is because they've read all these stories,” he said.

Highlighting the infrastructure progress in India, he said that the Government of India has built 40 million houses and given them to the people who have low income.

“We are talking about Japan. Let me give you a number related to Japan. In the last 10 years, we have built 40 million houses and given them to those who are eligible considering their low income. 4.8 households, which is the average number in India, i.e. about 190 million people have got houses in the last 10 years. This is one and a half times the population of Japan. Now when you tell someone in Japan, you know, I've actually been building housing one and a half times the size of yours over the last ten years. Then they really realize the scale of what's happening in this country. Then of course there has been infrastructure progress. I think we all live in this country, we see it in different ways every day,” Jaishankar said.

He said that there is a lot of interest in the world to invest in India, to know India and to travel to India and emphasized that there is a lot of potential in India as the country is globalizing and on the basis of its talent and skills. Paving the way domestically. For a global workplace.



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