There Are Things Bigger Than Politics When You Go Abroad: Jaishankar On Rahul Gandhi's 'Specimen' Remark

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shared his reaction to the press regarding comments by Rahul Gandhi on his United States tour, saying that there are sometimes 'things bigger than politics' when one steps outside the country.

EAM S Jaishankar

Rahul Gandhi on his United States tour slammed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government with comments like a "specimen" and also reportedly attacked his government's policies on various fronts. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has reacted to the comments of Gandhi saying that there are sometimes "things bigger than politics" when one steps outside the country.

Speaking at a diaspora event in Cape Town after attending the meeting of BRICS(Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) foreign ministers, Jaishankar reportedly said that he can talk for himself and does not do politics while travelling abroad.

Jaishankar said, "Look, I said I can only talk for myself I try when I go abroad not to do politics."

"I'm perfectly prepared to argue and argue very vigorously at home. Okay, so you will never find me wanting in that regard," he reportedly said in response to a question.

He added, "But I think you know, even a democratic culture has a certain collective responsibility. There is a national interest there is a collective image. There are sometimes things bigger than politics and when you step outside the country, I think that's important to remember."

"So I might differ strongly with someone. I could say to you, I differ with them. But how I counter it, I would like to go back home and do it. And watch me when I get back," India's top diplomat reportedly said.

Jaishankar said one part of the Indian foreign policy today is extremely focused on securing the welfare of Indian citizens abroad. 

He said given the globalisation of Indians today, it is important that systems are put in place which will respond to difficult situations.

Jaishankar also added, "Sometimes they can be very country specific. We had a few weeks ago, very nasty situation in Sudan, and we have 5,000 Indians died last year, when the fighting started in Ukraine. We had more than 20,000 Indians now. In fact, when I look at these last nine years, almost every year, we've had one situation somewhere."

"So, it's something which will keep happening. And we have that fundamental obligation today to take care of Indian Indians. Working, living, traveling abroad," he reportedly said.

"It could be something like providing a flight, it could even be sometimes there are people who are stuck abroad,  who have no money who are stuck in cases, they can't afford it. You know, we unfortunately have cases sometimes that people will pass away," he reportedly added.

(With PTI inputs)