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India no longer lumbering around at relatively slow pace: Jaishankar

India is no longer “lumbering around at a relatively slow pace”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said as he concluded his three-day visit to South Africa for a conclave of the five-nation BRICS grouping. The minister was in Johannesburg with his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, China for the BRICS bloc meeting hosted by South Africa. Speaking at a reception hosted by the local diaspora and expatriate community in Cape Town in his honour Saturday evening, he also spoke about the special relationship between India and South Africa, which would celebrate 30 years of new diplomatic ties.

“This scale of change which is taking place in India, when we speak about the pace of transformation of these nine years, is really something that I think the Indian community abroad, the non-residents abroad and I would say even the friends and well-wishers of India abroad need to understand is something very powerful and very big that is going on,” he said.Highlighting the achievements of the Modi government in its nine years in office through policy reforms and actions in various areas to raise the self-reliance of the Indian people, Jaishankar said this was not a protectionist effort.

“A self-reliant India is not a protectionist India that is closing itself to the world. It is an India that is actually making more in India but making more for the world and making more with the world. “We are today actively trying to forge partnerships. One of the indices of success has been the growing amount of foreign direct investments we have attracted,” the minister said. He said India’s FDI of USD86 billion last year was the largest in the world.

“The overall picture is one of great confidence at home – one of very significant achievements; but also, one where there is a great deal of ambition,” he said. Commenting on India’s vision for the next 25 years, Jaishankar said it was important to show to the generation of today that they have the capability of doing much bigger things on a much grander scale.“It is also the rise of a civilization state which will make its impact and which will also inspire others in different parts of the world to do something similar,” he said. Jaishankar also spoke about the special relationship between India and South Africa, which would celebrate 30 years of a new diplomatic relationship after a break of almost four decades because of apartheid.

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