Pakistan’s use of terror major roadblock in ties: Foreign secy Jaishankar
India’s efforts to have “closer and broader” cooperation in South Asia often faced roadblocks due to “unique challenge” from Pakistan which tends to use terrorism as an instrument of policy of diplomacy, foreign secretary S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.india Updated: Aug 18, 2016 01:47 IST
India’s efforts to have “closer and broader” cooperation in South Asia often faced roadblocks due to “unique challenge” from Pakistan which tends to use terrorism as an instrument of policy of diplomacy, foreign secretary S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
In a strong criticism of Pakistan, he said almost all major initiatives of India in Saarc -- be it enhancing connectivity or having deeper engagement in some other key areas -- did not fructify due to hurdles posed by Islamabad.
He described Pakistan as a country which not only has a “different view of the region but also has an attitude towards use of terrorism as an instrument of policy of diplomacy which makes it a difficult partner for all of us.”
Jaishankar was interacting with journalists at Foreign Correspondents’ Club in New Delhi during which he touched upon a wide range of issues including challenges on foreign policy front and India’s engagement with major powers like US, Russia and China.
Talking about government’s neighbourhood first policy, he said though India has been sincere in ensuring development of the region, its politics often come into play.
“While we all agree that we should move forward, it does not always go smoothly as domestic politics of our neighbours pose challenges. We have learnt to be patient and the mix of diplomacy and patience did see through difficult situations,” said Jaishankar.
“The neighbourhood clearly faces unique challenge with respect of one country which is Pakistan,” he said, adding the centrality of the problem is “terrorism”.
Referring to India-Pakistan ties, he said India made every effort in the last two years to improve relationship with Pakistan.
“What you have seen in the last two years is a great effort on our part to reach out to Pakistan and find common ground on many issues that face the relationship.
“The last time this was done in December when the Foreign Minister went for the Heart of Asia conference and we agreed to have comprehensive bilateral dialogue which we hoped would begin in January this year,” he said.
There has been an escalation in war of words between India and Pakistan over the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, and New Delhi has rejected Islamabad’s proposal to hold foreign secretary-level talks on the issue.
Whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Pakistan to attend the Saarc summit later this year will be a “policy decision” and a call will be taken at the “right time”, government sources said on Wednesday night.
The 19th Saarc summit is scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November.
Asked whether finance minister Arun Jaitley will travel to Pakistan to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ meeting, the sources said a decision on it has “not been firmly made”.
On reports that the Prime Minister may not travel to Venezuela next month to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, the sources said it has not been decided who will represent India at the conclave.
At the same time, they added there was no change in India’s policy towards NAM. The last time an Indian Prime Minister stayed away from attending NAM was Chaudhary Charan Singh in 1979.
Asked about Modi’s comments on situation in Balochisthan, the sources said it was an expression of concern by the Prime Minister and did not come out of the blue.
They said the PM was troubled by the human rights violations and excesses done by Pakistani army in Balochistan.
Questions like with whom India will coordinate and what New Delhi was going to do in Balochistan are “premature and irrevalent”, the sources said.
About discussion with Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi in Delhi last week on NSG issue, the sources said the leader of the Chinese delegation at the plenary meeting of the 48-nation grouping in Seoul in June will soon come to India.
They said all related issues will be discussed during his visit.
(With PTI inputs)