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'Terrorism cannot be policy of a good neighbour,' says Jaishankar slamming Pakistan; to focus on resolving remaining issues with China

'With Pakistan, we have the issue of terrorism, cross-border terrorism. How do we find a solution to it? That (terrorism) cannot be a policy of a good neighbour,' said Jaishankar, who commenced his second term as the External Affairs Minister of India on Tuesday.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 18:20 IST
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 18:20 IST

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New Delhi: Terrorism cannot be an instrument of state policy of a ‘good neighbour’, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in New Delhi on Tuesday, virtually rejecting the latest overture for peace from Islamabad.

"With Pakistan, we have the issue of terrorism, cross-border terrorism. How do we find a solution to it? That (terrorism) cannot be a policy of a good neighbour,” said Jaishankar, who commenced his second term as the External Affairs Minister of India on Tuesday.

His comment came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a rather curt congratulatory message from his counterpart in Islamabad, M Shehbaz Sharif, as well as a tad wordier overture for peace between India and Pakistan from M Nawaz Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

Jaishankar formally took charge at the Ministry of External Affairs in South Block on the Raisina Hills of New Delhi on Tuesday, just as he had done in 2019. “Our focus with regard to China will be on how to resolve the remaining issues (along the Line of Actual Control),” the 69-year-old diplomat-turned-politician said.

China in April-May 2020 made an aggressive move to unilaterally change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between China and India – in eastern Ladakh, by deploying a large number of troops of the Chinese PLA. The Indian Army too had to deploy additional troops to resist the Chinese PLA’s move to push the LAC westward. This resulted in a military stand-off that could not be completely resolved in the past four years.

Though protracted negotiations led to mutual withdrawal of front-line troops by both the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA from some areas, the stand-off could not be resolved at several other points on the LAC so far. Beijing has of late been claiming that the mutual withdrawal of troops by the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army from Patrolling Point 15 (Gogra-Hotsprings area) in September 2022 marked the restoration of normalcy along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. China’s claim appears to be an attempt to subtly build up pressure on India to accept the “new normal” in Depsang and Demchok areas where the Chinese PLA continues to block the Indian Army’s access to several patrolling points along the LAC.

“Felicitations to @narendramodi on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India,” Shehbaz posted on X tagging his counterpart in New Delhi. “Thank you @cmshehbaz for your good wishes,” replied Modi.

Modi also received a message on X from Shehbaz’s brother Nawaz Sharif. “My warm felicitations to Modi Ji (@narendramodi) on assuming office for the third time. Your party's success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership,” wrote the former prime minister who now heads the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of the PML (N).

The PML (N) and its ally Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) now run the coalition government in the neighbouring country. “Let us replace hate with hope and seize the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia,” Nawaz wrote on X making another peace overture to Modi.

“Appreciate your message @NawazSharifMNS. The people of India have always stood for peace, security, and progressive ideas. Advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority,” the prime minister replied to his former counterpart in Islamabad, articulating New Delhi’s stand.

Modi underlined the security of the people as his priority and thus subtly ruled out the possibility of an early thaw between New Delhi and Islamabad, in view of the export of terror to India from the territories under the control of Pakistan.

“Looking ahead, definitely I think the two axioms that the prime minister has given us -- 'Bharat First' and 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' -- these will be the two guiding axioms of Indian foreign policy," Jaishankar said on Tuesday.

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Published 11 June 2024, 18:20 IST

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