Pakistan using terror as part of statecraft, says Jaishankar

This is the first public comments by S. Jaishankar on China’s frequent claims on Arunachal Pradesh and its opposition to Indian leaders visiting the State.

March 23, 2024 03:02 pm | Updated March 24, 2024 02:29 am IST - Singapore

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar delivers a lecture at the prestigious NUS Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore, on March 23, 2024. Photo: X/@DrSJaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar delivers a lecture at the prestigious NUS Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore, on March 23, 2024. Photo: X/@DrSJaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on March 23 dismissed China's repeated claims on Arunachal Pradesh as "ludicrous" and asserted that the frontier state was a "natural part of India".

In probably his first public comments on China's frequent claims on Arunachal Pradesh and its opposition to Indian leaders visiting the State, Mr. Jaishankar said it was not a new issue.

"This is not a new issue. I mean China has laid claim, it has expanded its claim. The claims are ludicrous to begin with and remain ludicrous today," he said in response to a question on the Arunachal issue after delivering a lecture at the prestigious NUS Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore.

  

He emphasised that Arunachal Pradesh was a "natural part of India." "So, I think we've been very clear, very consistent on this. And I think you know that is something which will be part of the boundary discussions which are taking place," he said.

Mr. Jaishankar's comments came days after the Ministry of External Affairs dismissed the Chinese defence ministry's assertions.

"We have noted the comments made by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Defence Ministry advancing absurd claims over the territory of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh.

"Repeating baseless arguments in this regard does not lend such claims any validity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. Its people will continue to benefit from our development programmes and infrastructure projects," the MEA said in a statement.

Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry had objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

"We reject the comments made by the Chinese side regarding the visit of the Prime Minister to Arunachal Pradesh. Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other States of India," the MEA said in a separate response last week.

Objecting to such visits or India's developmental projects does not stand to reason. Further, it will not change the reality that the State of Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. The Chinese side has been made aware of this consistent position on several occasions, the statement said.

Pakistan sponsoring terrorism at ‘industry level: Jaishankar

Underlining that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism at almost an “industry level”, Mr. Jaishankar asserted that the mood in India now is not to overlook terrorists and it “will not skirt this problem anymore”.

Mr. Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to Singapore, made these remarks during a Q&A round held post his lecture session on his authored book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ at Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) of National University of Singapore (NUS).

“Every country wants a stable neighbourhood...if nothing else you want at least a quiet neighbourhood,” he said in response to a question on India’s ties with Pakistan.

However, unfortunately, it is not the same with India, he said.

Underlining that Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism against India, Jaishankar asked, “How do you deal with a neighbour who does not hide the fact that they use terrorism as an instrument of statecraft?” “It’s not a one-off happening...but very sustained, almost at an industry level...So what we have come to conclude is that we have to find a way of addressing (the menace), that dodging the problem gets us nowhere, it only invites more trouble,” he said.

“I don’t have a quick instantaneous fix (to this issue). But what I can tell you is that India will not skirt this problem anymore. We are not going to say, ‘well, that happened and let’s continue our dialogue’...we have a problem and we must be honest enough to face up to that problem, however difficult it is...we should not give the other country a free pass, saying there’s nothing they can do about it or it’s a very hard problem, or there’s so much else at stake that let us overlook,” he asserted.

In India now, Mr. Jaishankar said, “the mood is not to overlook terrorists”.

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