External Affairs Minister Jaishankar Wants Pakistan To Act Normal And Tackle Terror
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a press conference (Source: PTI)

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar Wants Pakistan To Act Normal And Tackle Terror

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said India has a “unique challenge” from its neighbour Pakistan who needs to act normal and take action against cross-border terrorism.

Addressing his first press conference after assuming the office in the Modi 2.0 government in May, Jaishankar, while presenting the ministry’s work in the first 100 days, 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 said Indian voice is now heard much more on global stage, be it at Group of 20 summit or at climate conferences. The minister said India’s narrative on issues like cross-border terrorism and abrogation of Article 370 has been articulated to global audience.

In a reference to Pakistan, Jaishankar said, “We have a unique challenge from one neighbour and that would remain a challenge until that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour and acts against cross-border terrorism.”

On Kashmir

Further talking about India’s stance on Kashmir, Jaishankar said there was no need to “worry” too much beyond a point about what people will say on the valley, asserting that the nation’s position on its internal issues has prevailed and will prevail.

He also asserted that there is a complete predictability of India's position since 1972.

“Beyond a point, don’t worry too much about what people will say on Kashmir. There is a complete predictability about my position. My position has been clear since 1972 and my position is not going to change. At the end of the day, it is my issue. On my issue, my position has prevailed and will prevail,” the external affairs minister said.

He was replying to questions on Pakistan’s attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue and concerns expressed by some foreign leaders on human rights condition in the territory.

On Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK is a part of India and India expects to have physical jurisdiction over it one day, 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," he told reporters.

The government has maintained that henceforth talks with Pakistan would be only about PoK and not on Kashmir. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu have made statements in this regard in the recent past after Pakistan sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue.

On India-U.S. Relations

Indo-U.S. relations have come a long way and there is no facet of the relationship that has not gone upwards, Jaishankar said on Tuesday.

He said the “trajectory” of the relationship between India and the U.S. has been “upwards” amid various administrations in Washington, be it Bush, Obama and now Trump.

Responding to a question on commerce, he said the trade problem between the two countries is “normal”.

Jaishankar said in partnership with the Indian diaspora, Modi addressed events in San Jose in 2015 and Madison Square in New York in 2014, and the Sept. 22 event at Houston will be the third.

He said the Indo-U.S. relations are in very good health.

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