External affairs minister S Jaishankar, who is in Brussels to bolster relations with the European Union, on Monday defended the Centre’s decisions to amend the citizenship law and abrogate the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister is the guest of honour for EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. EU president Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission wants to give Brussels a more “geopolitical role” and as part of that hopes to host a March summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“India and the European Union share a lot of things,” said Europe’s high representative for foreign policy Josep Borrell, citing climate change, the digital revolution and rise of China as shared challenges.
Jaishankar, standing by Borrell, noted that the new government in India and the new commission in Brussels are “both quite fresh” and that they hoped to take relations to a “new level”.
He added that he hoped the lunch talks would confirm the “strategic partnership”.
Lawmakers in the European Parliament have drafted a resolution condemning the CAA as “discriminatory and dangerously divisive”. But Jaishankar said Delhi’s critics have misunderstood the government’s policy taken in by the politics of a “very passionate” democratic society.
Defending the Centre’s move on Kashmir, he said: “It’s our case that Jammu and Kashmir is moving in the right direction but we also have been honest enough in saying that, well, there are there are challenges still ahead.”