Published On: Tue, Jan 2nd, 2024

EAM Jaishankar: ‘We made Pakistan’s policy irrelevant by not playing their game’

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that Pakistan’s core policy has been to “use cross-border terrorism to bring India to the table”, adding that India made that policy irrelevant by “not playing that game now”.

Foreign media’s coverage of India cannot be taken at face value

In an interview with news agency ANI, Jaishankar said, “What Pakistan was trying to do, not now but over multiple decades, was really to use cross-border terrorism to bring India to the table. That, in essence, was its core policy. We have made that irrelevant by not playing that game now.”

He added, “It’s not a case that we won’t deal with a neighbour. After all, at the end of the day, a neighbour is a neighbour, but it is that we will not deal on the basis of terms that they set where the practice of terrorism is deemed as legitimate and effective in order to bring you to the table.”

Speaking about the prevalence of the Khalistani movement in Canada, Jaishankar said that Khalistani forces have been given the “space to engage in activities harmful to India and Canada’s diplomatic relationship”.

In an interview with ANI, EAM Jaishankar said, “The issue at heart is the fact that in Canadian politics, these Khalistani forces have been given a lot of space and have been allowed to indulge in activities which I think are damaging to the relationship, clearly not in India’s interest, and not in Canada’s interest either. But unfortunately, that is the state of their politics.”

During the interview, Jaishankar said there was a need for India to engage with China realistically, advocating for a relationship founded on mutual respect, sensitivity, and shared interests.

He reevaluated India’s approach, aiming to counter China’s “aggressive measures” and criticised the “romanticised perspective” of the Nehruvian era in dealings with China.

When asked if India lost to China’s “mind games”, he said, “I don’t think we always lost out, but at various points of time, when we talk about the parts of the past today would be very difficult to understand, Panchsheel agreement is another such example. The role of confidence and assurance, the fact that we are a multiple millennia civilisation. All of this should be in our demeanour, in our standing and in the way we approach other countries.”

Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘chemistry’ and ‘credibility’ among world leaders, Jaishankar said that the “fact that world leaders know PM Modi counts”.

On the debate surrounding the term ‘Bharat’ being used as a possible replacement for India, Jaishankar told ANI, “There’s a very active debate right now. In many ways, people use that debate for their own narrow purposes. The fact is the term ‘Bharat’ has not just a cultural civilisational connotation, but also a certain confidence and identity and how you perceive yourself and what are the terms you are offering to the world.”

He further said, “This is not something which is a narrow political debate or a historical cultural debate, it is a mindset. And, if we are actually preparing seriously for the ‘Amrit Kaal’ in the next 25 years and if we are talking of a Viksit Bharat or developed Bharat, that can only happen if you are an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat'”

Talking about India emerging as ‘Vishwamitra’ by maintaining good relationships with most countries, Jaishankar cited the New Delhi Leaders’ Summit Declaration as an example.

He told ANI, “When we say ‘Vishwamitra’, one example of that is the G20. Not even 12 hours before the G20, the declaration was finalised. There were people publicly predicting that we will fail.”

“Different countries were pulling in different directions and yet the fact eventually is that we got everyone to come to the table. But the final truth is that they came to the table because everybody had a relationship with India,” he asserted.

When asked about foreign media’s reportage of India, the foreign affairs minister told ANI that foreign media were “trying to push a certain line because they have a certain interest”.

He added that foreign media’s coverage of India cannot be taken at face value.

In the interview, he asserted, “That is a mind game. I am not saying we are perfect. I am not saying we don’t have room for improvement. But look at their motive and agenda. They are not agenda-less, they are not motiveless. They are trying to push a certain line because they have a certain interest. Do not necessarily take what comes in the foreign media at face value. If anything, I could be passing judgements on a whole lot of other democracies.”

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