Addressing his first press conference after assuming the office in the Modi 2.0 government in May, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hit out at Pakistan, saying India has a “unique challenge” from one neighbour and it would remain a challenge until that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour and acts against cross-border terrorism.
He firmly stated ,that there is no need to “worry” too much beyond a point about what people will say on Kashmir as it was its internal issue on which its position has “prevailed and will prevail”, remarks that come in the backdrop of raging debate over New Delhi’s decision to abrogate Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid concerns expressed by some countries and the United Nations human rights organisation over situation in Kashmir, Jaishankar said international audience understands what were India’s reasons for abrogating Article 370.
“It was a temporary provision which is not often used in the analysis of events… The provision had actually become dysfunctional. It was being arbitraged by some narrow set of people for their own gains. By doing so they were impeding development and feeding a sense of separatism. The separatism was being utilised by Pakistan to carry out cross-border terrorism,” he said.
Asked about remarks by some Union leaders that henceforth talks with Pakistan would be only about Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and not on Kashmir, Jaishankar said, “Our position has, is and will always be very clear on PoK, that it is part of India and we expect one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it.”
Talking about performance of the ministry in first 100 days, he said, one of the key achievements of the government in this period has been a strong connection between national security and foreign policy goals.
He also said that India’s ability and appetite to shape the foreign agenda today is much more than before. “In big debates like G20, BRICS, Indian views are now heard more clearly,”