Terrorism from Pak makes it very hard to conduct normal relations: Jaishankar
New York: “Terrorism remains publicly acknowledged by the Pakistan government as a policy that they justify, making it very hard to conduct normal relations with it,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.
Speaking during an online event hosted by the Asia Society, Jaishankar said, “In terms of your… question, how are we with Pakistan. Well, I am afraid we’re still at the, if not the perennial issues, at least the long-lasting ones, which is terrorism from Pakistan continues.”
“Terrorism from Pakistan remains publicly acknowledged by their government as a policy that they are justifying. So it makes it very hard to conduct normal relations with them,” Jaishankar said.
He added that it is not only terrorism, but Pakistan doesn’t do normal trade with India and has not given New Delhi MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status.
“We don’t have a normal visa relationship, they are very restrictive on that score. They have blocked connectivity between India and Afghanistan and from Afghanistan to India,” he said.
Jaishankar said that normal neighbours do visas and trade, “they give you connectivity and most important they don’t practice terrorism. And I think until we address that problem, this challenge of how do you have a normal relationship with this very unique neighbour is a very troubling issue for our foreign policy.”
Responding to a question on the developments in Kashmir since the bifurcation last year, Jaishankar said the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has now become two union territories.
“The external boundaries of India have not changed. The external boundaries of India remain what they are today as opposed to what they were five years ago or 20 years ago, 40 years ago,” he said.
“So as far as our neighbours are concerned, our point to them is that this is something which is internal to us. Every country after all reserves the right to change its administrative jurisdictions. A country like China has also changed the borders of its provinces and I’m sure a lot of other countries do that.
“Neighbours get impacted only if your external boundaries change. That has not happened in this case,” he said.
Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after a militant attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relationship further dipped after India’s war planes pounded what it calims was a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26 last year in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special powers and bifurcating the state into two union territories in August last year also evoked a strong reaction from Pakistan, which has been trying to rally international support against India on the Kashmir issue.
‘Border clashes between India, China left relationship profoundly disturbed’
New York: The violent clashes on the India-China border in June had a very deep public and political impact and has left the relationship “profoundly disturbed”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.
Tensions had escalated manifold between India and China after the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army also suffered an unspecified number of casualties.
Jaishankar, speaking at a virtual event hosted by the Asia Society, said that India has built the relationship with China over the course of last 30 years “and a basis for building that relationship has been peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control.”
He said there are multiple agreements, starting from 1993, which created the framework for that peace and tranquility, which limited the military forces that came to the border areas, how to manage the border, how border troops behave when they approach each other.
“So, from the conceptual level down to the behavioural level, there was an entire sort of framework out there. Now, what we saw this year was a departure from this entire series of agreements. The massing of large amount of Chinese forces on the border was clearly contrary to all of this.
“And when you had friction point which was large number of troops at different points very close to each other, then something tragic like what happened on 15th of June happened,” he said.
“To underline the enormity of that, it was the first military casualty we had after 1975. So what it has done is, it has obviously had a very deep public impact, very major political impact and it has left the relationship profoundly disturbed,” Jaishankar said.
Jaishankar said that apart from the Wuhan Summit in April 2018, there was a similar summit in Chenna last year and the idea of the summit was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping spend time, talk to each other directly about their concerns.
“What happened this year of course was a very sharp departure. Now it’s not just a sharp departure from the conversation, it’s a sharp departure over a course of relationship over 30 years,” he said.
In response to a question on what did the Chinese actually do on the border and why they did it, Jaishankar said: “I haven’t frankly got any reasonable explanation that I can tell myself from them on this matter.
“There are today a very large number of troops with weapons concentrated on that segment of the border and that is obviously a very critical security challenge that we face.”
In the special Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) event, Jaishankar was in conversation with ASPI President Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister. The two also spoke about Jaishankar’s new book ‘The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World.’