Accusing Pakistan of running terrorist industry from its soil, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that Islamabad must hand over the Indians wanted for terrorist activities if it is serious about better ties with New Delhi. In an interview to leading French daily Le Monde, Jaishankar said that Pakistan openly practices terrorism against India and does not deny sending terrorists to its eastern neighbour.
Here’s what Dr S Jaishankar said in his interview to French daily Le Monde:
Responding to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent statement that relations with India are “close to zero”, Jaishankar said,”The relationship is difficult since many years, mainly because Pakistan has developed an important terrorist industry and sends terrorists to India to carry out attacks. Pakistan itself does not deny this situation.”
Demanding tangible action from Pakistan demonstrating real willingness to cooperate, the minister said,“Now, tell me: which country would be willing to talk and negotiate with a neighbour who openly practices terrorism against it… We need actions that demonstrate a real willingness to cooperate.”
In an oblique reference to criminals like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan,Jaishankar said that there are Indians wanted for terrorist activities living in Pakistan and India is asking Pakistan to hand them over.
On Kashmir, Jaishankar conceded that the August 5 action of defanging Article 370 led to some precautionary measures to avert the danger of violent reactions from radical and separatist elements. However, he added that the situation is now back to normal, adding these restrictions have been gradually reduced, and as the situation normalises, telephone and mobile lines have been restored, shops are open and apple harvest is underway.
Answering a question on the tide of “nationalism” in India, Jaishankar reiterated that India’s nationalism should not be viewed through western lens and said, “Each country has a different understanding of nationalism, a different history. In the United States, it has an isolationist connotation. In Asia, at least in India, nationalism is a positive word.”
Downplaying a question related to tensions arising out of nationalism for minorities, Jaishankar said, “It is my country that defines my nationality, not my religion, nor my caste, nor my language.
“The concept of nation is different. In India, we are in a sense a civilization state, with natural, linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity. We have never considered uniformity as a necessity or an aspiration. There are few places in the world where you will see so many people with so many beliefs co-existing,” he added.