External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj voiced concerns that the world is reeling under a storm of protectionism and said India did not agree with American President Donald Trump’s “Me First” approach on the issue.
India, she stressed, believed in the concept of “We, Us and Ourselves”. “I was sad when President Trump, in the UN General Assembly, said his slogan was Me First,” the external affairs minister said.
She was referring to Trump’s speech at the United Nations in September last year when he had said, “As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.”
“There is a storm of protectionism at the global level which is centred around the concept of Me and Myself but India believes in the concept of We, Us and Ourselves. If everyone views the other as equal then there is no place for protectionism in it,” she said.
Ms Swaraj made those remarks while delivering the first Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Memorial International lecture on ‘Soft Power Diplomacy: Strength of India’, organised by the ICCR on Monday evening.
After Trump’s speech, Swaraj said she had a meeting with ministers of Latin American and Caribbean States.
“A foreign minister of a small country spoke about President Trump’s speech of Me First. She said if everyone says (and follows the policy) of Me First then how will my country sustain.” Swaraj said she pointed out that India had a different approach.
“I said India does not have the tradition of (following the policy of) Me First. I said my speech will have (the concept of) Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah,” she said, quoting a sloka from the Vedas that translates into “May everyone be happy”.
“If we don’t do this then developed countries will continue to grow and under-developed countries will remain under-developed. So how will economic disparity reduce,” she said.
(With inputs from PTI)