If I have a good guest, I am a good host: Jaishankar on Bilawal

May 07, 2023 09:06 PM IST

Jaishankar said Bilawal Bhutto spoke only on issues pertaining to India in his interaction on the sidelines of the SCO.

On India and Pakistan sparring on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Goa which was attended by Pakistan's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on Sunday said he is a good host if the guest is good, implying that the Pakistan foreign minister does not qualify as a good host.

Jaishankar said Pakistan's foreign minister spoke on India in press conference but nothing on the SCO issues.
Jaishankar said Pakistan's foreign minister spoke on India in press conference but nothing on the SCO issues.

Answering a question at a meet on the foreign policy of the Modi government -- in Mysore-- Jaishankar said the Pakistan foreign minister was invited to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' meet. "But if you look at his public utterances outside the SCO meet, he has only spoken on India, -- G20, Kashmir, BBC documentary; but nothing about SCO. What do I do as a host? If I have a good guest, I am a good host. But..." Jaishankar said amid a round of applause from the audience.

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"We invited the Pakistani foreign minister because there was an SCO foreign ministers' meeting. When it comes to multilateral meetings, you invite people to discuss that subject. He (Bilawal Bhutto) was invited in his capacity as a representative of Pakistan to put across his views on matters pertaining to the issues pertaining to SCO. We could differ...he may have his viewpoint, I may have my own viewpoint and there's an SCO meeting room where we would discuss and differ. That's one thing," Jaishankar said explaining the rationale behind inviting Bilawal to India.

After the SCO meeting, Jaishankar slammed Bilawal Bhutto and said the victims of terrorism and the perpetrators of terrorism should not sit together -- replying to Bilawal's 'weaponsing terrorism' comment. The Pakistan foreign minister too replied to Jaishankar's jibe and said he was rattled and insecure because India's "fake narrative" about Pakistan got hurt as Bilawal came to India.

"What do you mean we should not weaponise terrorism? That means, as a victim, I'm supposed to put up with it. So you not only commit terrorism, but you say, oh, please, do not even speak about it? Come on. So to me, that sentence, it spoke so much about a mindset of that country that you can all see for yourselves," Jaishankar said.

On India's push for the port in Iran, Jaishankar said unless something miraculously happens in Pakistan, India has to find a way around Pakistan to develop access in Central Asia and beyond. "It is not in our interest to be locked in perpetual hostility with Pakistan. Nobody wants that. It's against common sense. But we have to draw the line. If a neighbour attacks me, I don't think it should be business as usual," Jaishankar said.

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