Why are India’s diplomats speaking a new aggressive language?
Had India decided to adopt China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” tactics?
That’s what some observers began to wonder earlier this month, after Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar described his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as a “spokesperson of a terrorism industry”.
To some observers, the aggressive words used by Jaishankar to describe a fellow participant at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa on May 5 – of which India was the host – seemed unnecessarily arrogant. But it was not unusual: Indian diplomats are increasingly using similar rhetoric.
However, many others – especially the Bharatiya Janata Party’s supporters at home in India – have expressed admiration at the purported displays of confidence by Jaishankar and other Indian diplomats. It seems to reflect the combative style used by Beijing’s diplomats in recent years, a style that gets its name from a 2015 Chinese political thriller with a tagline that declared, “Whoever attacks China will be killed no matter how far the target is.”
Experts suggest that usage of this diplomatic language reflects two dynamics. Some of it is aimed at firing up the BJP’s supporters at home. But it is also the product of the shift in Indian foreign policy.
Jaishankar vs Bhutto
To observers in Pakistan, Jaishankar’s remarks about Bhutto…