It is Britain’s talking point du jour. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Wednesday warned China that “countries must play by the rules. And that includes China.” That came a day after similar finger-wagging from British chief of defence staff Admiral Tony Radakin. “What China needs to … observe is, when you transgress these international rules, this world order, it leads to all kinds of consequences,” he said. All this moral posturing is getting tiresome, though they may be forgiven for following the same script as Washington. Of course, those rules were devised by Western powers over the decades, which feel free to break or to enforce them. Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen; the global war on terror and the war on drugs across Latin America. The hypocrisy is just too glaring and stomach-turning. It is worth mentioning that Radakin was taking part in New Delhi at the Raisina Dialogue 2022, an annual conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics organised by India’s external affairs ministry and the Observer Research Foundation, an influential think tank. The best answer was provided by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister. He wasn’t addressing Radakin, but he might as well have been. Jaishankar said the West’s invocation for global unity in protecting the rules-based order in the wake of the Russian invasion in Ukraine was selective, with no such outrage when Afghanistan was “thrown under the bus” or geopolitical challenges confronted Asia. “In terms of Afghanistan,” he said, “please show me which part of the rules-based order justified what the world did there. So, let’s see this in the right context.” For the umpteenth time, China will not invade Taiwan Asked rhetorically by former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would embolden China, Jaishankar politely dismissed the idea. “[International politics] do not necessarily function by precedents,” he said. “People don’t need to see something and say, ‘Aha, that’s what I am going to do!’ That’s how bureaucracies function. But world affairs have a sort of a much more self-driven, self-calculating way of working.” Obviously frustrated, he added: “Quite candidly, we have been hearing for the last two months a lot of arguments from Europe saying that things happening in Europe should worry [us] ... because these could happen in Asia. “Guess what, things have been happening in Asia for the last 10 years. Europe may not have looked at it.” Amen to that.