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EAM S Jaishankar Slams 'Havana Handshake', Says 'India Can't Be Meek With Pakistan'

Talking about dealing with Pakistan and its support to terrorism, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, said that India cant be gung ho, but cant be meek


Talking about dealing with Pakistan and its support to terrorism, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, said that India cannot be gung ho, but at the same time it cannot be meek, in an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on on 'Nation Wants to Know'. Slamming the famous 'Havana Handshake' and the Summit at Sharm El Sheikh between India and Pakistan during ex-PM Manmohan Singh's term, he said they were not helpful for India. Jaishankar also railed against Pakistan's cry calling itself as 'victim of terrorism', pointing out Pakistan's support to terrorism.

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Slams 'Havana handshake', says 'India can't be meek with Pakistan'

"I think it is important to be a responsible power, hence I am cautious to resort to action. But I agree with you that what was done at Havana and Sharm El Sheikh - the messaging which came out of that was not helpful to us. I would not be gung ho, but one cannot be meek when faced with terrorism," he said.

When asked about how to deal with terrorism using the Mahabharata, he added, "The thrust of that chapter is to know the difference between Right and Wrong. According to me whenever terrorism is committed - be it across the border or within, morally equating terrorism and the terrorist is outrageous. In a troubling trend for the past few decades, there has been a moral equivalence of a person who is doing something unacceptable and a person who is suffering as a result. Even a suggestion that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism when it is running a business of terrorists is something I find very bizarre."

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What is the 'Havana handshake' & the Summit at Sharm El Sheikh?

In a major diplomatic blunder, then PM Dr.Manmohan Singh met with then-Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Cuban capital in 2006, after the horrific 26/11 blasts posing for a 'handshake' with Musharraf in Havana. Pakistan media hailed the move stating that 'India has conceded that Islamabad, too, is a victim of terrorism'. Musharraf, who met the media in New York, was quoted as saying that his meeting with Singh was a "victory of the peace process". Indian media and most politicians criticised Dr Singh's gesture calling it 'unhelpful'.

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Similarly, in 2009, in a bid to revive Indo-Pak diplomatic interaction which was suspended in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, Dr Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani, met on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. After the meeting, the countries issued a joint statement which read: “Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real-time credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threat. Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.” This statement led BJP to hold Dr Singh  “guilty” and had said that “waters of the seven seas will not be able to wash the shame”. 

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