Lawyer and politician Mahesh Jethmalani suggests some world powers fear his country’s emergence as a major rival

A “growing and strong India” is a challenge to the supremacy of the West, the renowned criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, who is also a member of parliament for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has told RT.

“The sitting most powerful nations fear a rising, emerging power that is going to overthrow them and become more powerful than them,” Jethmalani said, commenting on the Western media’s often unflattering coverage of India, in an interview on the latest episode of RT’s ‘Let’s Talk Bharat’ show.

Discussing his country’s transformation in recent years, Jethmalani highlighted the Modi government’s welfare schemes, successful missions to the Moon and the Sun last year, and India’s “very limited, very reasonable” unemployment and inflation. There is “something for everybody,” irrespective of social standing, he claimed.

Jethmalani – known for defending top politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who was then chief minister of Gujarat), industrialists and Bollywood celebrities – further noted that India is gradually moving away from its colonial past, not only in terms of growth and development.

Global public square: India sets the stage for geopolitical dialogue that the divided world needs now Global public square: India sets the stage for geopolitical dialogue that the divided world needs now

Last year, India struck down three British-era criminal laws – the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, enacted by the colonial rulers. They were replaced with a new set of laws drafted by the Modi government.

The older bills, including one on sedition, were based on Victorian principles, Jethmalani noted, adding that women were given a “subordinate place” in the legal system devised by the British. Jethmalani also described India’s new law – reserving 33% of seats for women in politics – as a notable achievement for the government.

The lawmaker also weighed on India’s changing role as a global power. New Delhi’s policy is to be “friends with everyone,” including its China – despite an existing border dispute that, unless resolved, is bound to “flare up.” Jethmalani argued that India has never been an aggressor towards anybody, calling it a point of pride for the country. “We want to live in peace and our boundaries to be secure,” he stressed.

The politician’s comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the urgent resolution of border disputes and the “abnormality” in ties with Beijing.

Jethmalani also cited India’s potential role as a mediator in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, stressing that New Delhi has avoided taking sides, taking a “balanced” view, despite being friends with Russia since “time immemorial.”

“Prime Minister Modi has made it very clear – this is not an era of war, we would like peace,” he said. “But then, they have to sit down across a table and find out what is the adversarial position between the two protagonists. We have offered to mediate as well.”

Recently, Ukraine asked India to participate in an upcoming peace conference in Switzerland that is likely to promote Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which demands that Moscow withdraw from all territories that Kiev claims as its own. New Delhi has yet to confirm whether it will attend.