Taking on Pakistan, India on Friday said the concept of state actors and non-state actors on the issue of terrorism is a “false dichotomy” and a state cannot escape responsibility by hiding behind it. India also said that acting against some terror groups is not a justification for giving a free pass, leave alone active support, to other groups.
Without mincing words, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar tore into Pakistan’s narrative that terror attacks against India are done by non-state actors and said the state cannot escape responsibility.
Speaking at a conference organised by US-based East West Centre, the Foreign Secretary reminded everyone that this was the case after 9/11 attack when countries were told that they cannot escape responsibility by saying that non-state actors were involved.
There is a connect between state actors and non-state actors which is why we use the word ‘sponsored’. So, the state cannot escape responsibility by saying it is non-state. This is not just vis-a-vis India. It was the situation even after 9/11.S Jaishankar, India’s Foreign Secretary
He was responding to questions about the U.S., while supporting India’s stand on terrorism, also saying that Pakistan was fighting against terrorism by taking action against various groups.
Jaishankar said the world has a better sense of the nesting ground of terrorism in the region, where terrorism is being bred and nurtured. His remarks came as India upped the ante on the issue of “terror export” from the neighbouring country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising it at the BRICS meet and the East Asia Summit, where he called on the international community to isolate and sanction “this” instigator. Modi urged other BRICS members to intensify joint efforts to combat terrorism and sought “coordinated actions” by the grouping to “isolate supporters and sponsors of terror”.
“There’s one country in our neighbourhood whose competitive advantage rests solely in producing and exporting terrorism,” he later said in his address at the East Asia Summit, without naming Pakistan.
Asked about China blocking India’s bid to put Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar’s on UN Security Council blacklist of groups linked to al-Qaeda or Islamic State, Jaishankar said India has a view and is trying to persuade people with different viewpoint. He said that 15 countries are supporting India’s bid and there “must be a logical reason” why they are doing so.
“Let us see what happens. I think we need to be patient and see where we go. Obviously, we have our viewpoint and we are trying very hard to persuade people with a different viewpoint,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary said that today there is a much sharper awareness of the fact that terrorism is no longer a national issue.
“That the idea that ‘oh, this is India’s problem, we are ok’... I think that era today is behind us. People know that terrorist organisations and individuals are very well connected, and what is India’s problem problem today has been somebody else’s problem too,” he said.
The Prime Minister had also raised the terror issue at the G20 meet.
“We expect the international community to speak and act in unity, and to respond with urgency to fight this menace. Those who sponsor and support terrorism must be isolated and sanctioned, not rewarded,” Modi had said in his intervention during the concluding session of the meeting of the world’s 20 strong economies.