Updated January 2nd, 2024 at 12:33 IST
Jaishankar declares Pakistan's cross-border terrorism policy 'irrelevant'
India's Foreign Minister rejected Pakistan's terrorism tactics, underlining dialogue can only be achieved in a terror-free environment.
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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated that India considers Pakistan's longstanding policy of using cross-border terrorism to compel India into dialogue as ‘irrelevant’ in an interview with ANI. Highlighting India's stance on the matter, Jaishankar reaffirmed that New Delhi would not engage with its western neighbour on terms that validate terrorism as a legitimate tool for negotiations.
Jaishankar added that Pakistan's historical approach aimed to use cross-border terrorism as leverage, coercing India to the negotiation table. However, he asserted India's current refusal to partake in this strategy, marking a shift in its approach towards Pakistan. "We have made that irrelevant by not playing that game now," Jaishankar asserted.
Elaborating further on India's position, Jaishankar clarified that India's reluctance to engage with Pakistan is not a refusal to interact with a neighbouring country. Additionally, he stressed the importance of creating a conducive environment, void of terrorism and hostility, as necessary for meaningful dialogue.
"What Pakistan was trying to do, not now but over multiple decades, was really to use cross-border terrorism to bring India to the table. That, in essence, was its core policy. We have made that irrelevant by not playing that game now. It's not a case that we won't deal with a neighbour," Jaishankar reiterated.
Last year, India explicitly stated that establishing an environment free from terror and hostilities is essential for normalised relations with Pakistan. This statement followed Pakistan's then-Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressing willingness to initiate talks with India. The Ministry of External Affairs has also persistently stated India's desire for cordial relations with all its neighbouring nations, including Pakistan, contingent upon a terrorism-free environment.
Addressing Pakistan's current economic challenges, Jaishankar said that Pakistan's future primarily rests on its internal actions and decisions. He pointed out that India's relationship with Pakistan differs significantly from its engagement with other countries. Following the statement, the EAM cited India's distinct assistance to Sri Lanka during its economic crisis.
"I think Pakistan's future is largely determined by Pakistan's actions and by Pakistan's choices. Nobody reaches a difficult situation suddenly and without cause. It is for them to find a way out. Our relationship today is not one where we can be relevant directly to that process," Jaishankar added.
Pakistan continues to grapple with economic hardships, including depleting foreign exchange reserves, soaring inflation rates, and a sharp decline in its currency's value.
Jaishankar's statements overall underlined India's stance on cross-border terrorism and its insistence on encouraging a terrorism-free environment for meaningful engagement with its neighbours.
Published January 2nd, 2024 at 12:33 IST