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regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

‘Pulse of public’: No aid to Pakistan

No walkarounds as terror still main industry: Jaishankar

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 24.02.23, 03:37 AM
Jaishankar speaks at the Festival of Thinkers Summit in Pune on Thursday.

Jaishankar speaks at the Festival of Thinkers Summit in Pune on Thursday. PTI

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday ruled out any kind of rapprochement with Pakistan, which is going through economic difficulties, pointing out that terrorism remains its basic industry and the public sentiment in India is also not in favour of such “walkarounds”.

Essentially also ruling out any offer of assistance without saying so in as many words, Jaishankar made it clear that Pakistan has to make very tough choices. He was responding to a question at the inaugural Asia Economic Dialogue on whether Pakistan’s economic difficulties are at a point where there can be some kind of rapprochement between the two countries in keeping with India’s “neighbourhood-first” policy.

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“The reality of this particular relationship is that it has a fundamental issue which we cannot and we must not avoid. And that issue is that of terrorism. Because the moment we start doing this walkarounds — let’s find the joint statement which will get us agreed language, let us reach out at this point and see where this goes — that’s been the talk of the last 75 years and look where it got us.

“We need clarity and we mustn’t be in denial of what are very fundamental problems in that relationship. Just as a country has to fix its economic issues, a country has to fix its political issues too. A country has to fix its social issues. No country is ever going to come out of a difficult situation and become a prosperous power if its basic industry is terrorism. Among the changes which need to be made are also changes pertaining to all of that. That remains a very major problem. Also, as someone in politics, if I were to look at any big decision I’m making, I would also look at what is the public sentiment,” Jaishankar said.

At the same time, the minister also made it clear that it is in nobody’s interest that any country — least of all a neighbouring nation – get into severe economic difficulties. “Nobody sensible, nobody mature would even nurse that thought.”

Having said this, Jaishankar went on to add that no one can help a country out of the doldrums if it is not prepared to solve the problems itself.

“This is not a Pakistan point, it is a generic global point,” he said.

The world can provide options and support systems but the bottom line, he said, has to be done by that country and often it will require very tough choices.

“We went through this 30 years ago,” he said, obliquely referring to the economic liberalisation ushered in by then finance minister Manmohan Singh in P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government.

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