External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday dismissed as “ridiculous" the notion that the United States has been strategically contracting and yielding space to others amidst a global rebalancing of power. Addressing a panel discussion here on “Greater Power Competition: The Emerging World Order" at the Bloomberg New Economic Forum, Jaishankar also said that the US is today, a much more flexible partner, much more open to ideas, suggestions, and working arrangements than in the past.

“Don’t confuse it with the decline of the United States. I think that’s ridiculous," he said in response to a question from the moderator at the session, also attended by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“It’s clear China has been expanding. But the nature of China, the manner of its growing influence is very different. And we don’t have a situation where China necessarily replaces the United States. Well, it’s natural to think of China, US (and) China as the overarching happening. The fact is, there are also a lot of other countries including India, which have come much more into play. There’s been a rebalancing in the world, he said.

He said the United States is today, a much more flexible partner, much more open to ideas, suggestions, and working arrangements than in the past. “I think this reflects a very different kind of world. We are moving into a world in a sense, you could say, the real transitions after 1992 are now occurring."

“The world is changing. It’s suddenly not unipolar. It’s not really bipolar, and many more players (are there). So a lot of what we are doing in terms of repositioning working with countries," he said.

Noting that the COVID has called into question the old model of globalisation, he said, “we are actually at multiple levels in a very, very complex transition."

“The transition some of it is with the rise and fall and the rebalancing of powers. Some of it is many more players. Some of it is that our concept of what is national security has changed. We think much more of economic security, much more of health security, much more of digital security, he said.

“Today, issues of trust and transparency are much more relevant in a data driven world. So it does matter to me what the character of my partner is, who they are partners with. So these are all new factors, which I would suggest is really taking the world in a very, very different direction," he said.

Obviously, India would like to see how its interests are best served and those interests today are definitely served with a much closer relationship with the United States, with a much stronger relationship with Europe, and the UK, he said.