Published On: Fri, Mar 19th, 2021

In India, nationalism is perceived as a positive force: Jaishankar

Panaji: Nationalism for countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America is a positive term which refers to rebuilding of societies pillaged by imperialism, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday.

The word nationalism in many conversations does not have a nice ring to it

Speaking at a virtual discussion related to his new book ‘The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World’ organised by the International Centre, Goa, Jaishankar also said that the word ‘nationalism’ meant different things to different countries and said that in many parts of the world, especially in Europe and Japan, did not have a good resonance.

“If you speak across the world, the overall sense is, the word nationalism in many conversations does not have a nice ring to it… If you were to look in large parts of Asia, large parts of Africa, large parts of Latin america, nationalism was our regaining our independence from foreign rule. It was our rebuilding of society after they were pillaged and practically destroyed by foreigners,” Jaishankar said, when asked about the global re-emergence of nationalism.

“If you ask somebody in India, ‘are you a nationalist?’, he’ll say ‘of course, I am a nationalist’. Mahatma Gandhi led the national movement. For us nationalism is a positive force. It is regaining something, it is rediscovering your identity. It is an expression of national confidence of a society, of an ambition of society,” Jaishankar said.

He also said, that geopolitically, the global north does not treat nationalism as a positive word, while the global south had a different connotation.

“In our case, I think definitely, to say I am nationalistic, or I am more nationalistic, it means you have a stronger passion for your country for your society, for your higher ambition, you are willing to do more to achieve your goal,” he said.

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