India Can’t Accept Terrorism Legitimate As Diplomacy: EAM On Ceasefire
(This was originally posted in India Today by Geeta Mohan)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said India cannot accept terrorism as “any way legitimate as diplomacy” or “unorthodox statecraft”, adding that the “bigger issues” remain with Pakistan despite the two neighbouring countries reaching a ceasefire agreement earlier this year.
During a conversation with former US National Security Advisor General HR McMaster in ‘Battlegrounds’ session on ‘India: Opportunities And Challenges For A Strategic Partnership’, Jaishankar said, “Look what I can tell you at this point of time, is that we had an agreement some weeks ago between our Director General of Military Operations that we would not fire across at each other, across the Line of Control, which has seen a lot of that. And it’s seen a lot of that, mainly because there’s been infiltration from their side.”
“So, the basis for not firing is very clear because the reason for firing is infiltration so if there is no infiltration there’s obviously no reason to fire. That’s a good step. But I think there are obviously bigger issues,” the minister, currently on an official visit to the United States, added.
In February, the militaries of India and Pakistan had reached an agreement to strictly adhere to all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.
Asked about the recent political developments in India that are allegedly undermining the ‘secular nature’ of the country, Jaishankar said it was a part of a “political effort” to depict the current government in a certain way. “When you come down to real governance, there is a difference between the political imagery that has been concocted and actual governance record out there,” he said.
“In our society, we define secularism as equal respect for all faiths, not denial to anyone of his faith. Today you are seeking people confident of their culture, beliefs, language, faiths. They are less from the English speaking world, less connected to other global centres. So there is a difference,” he added. Jaishankar said in the past, there was a culture of vote bank politics but the country has departed from it now.
The minister further said that democracy as a political model suits India’s diverse culture. “Others maybe confused, we are not. We Indians are extremely confident about our democracy,” he said. On the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the world, the foreign minister said we can’t have a world that is part vaccinated and part not. “The sense of equity for the greater good is important,” he said.