Agencies (New York, 25 September 2019) – India has no problem talking to Pakistan but it has a problem talking to “terroristan”, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said here, asserting that Islamabad has created an entire industry of terrorism to deal with the Kashmir issue.
Jaishankar, addressing a New York audience at cultural organisation Asia Society on Tuesday, said when India decided to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, it drew reactions from Pakistan and China.
China had voiced “serious concern” over the situation in Kashmir, saying “the parties concerned should exercise restraint and act with caution, especially to avoid actions that unilaterally change the status quo and exacerbate tension.”
Jaishankar emphasised that India has no problem talking to Pakistan.But we have a problem talking to “terroristan”. And they have to be one and not be the other, he said.
Jaishankar underlined that revoking Article 370 has no implications for India’s external boundaries.
“We are sort of reformatting this within our existing boundaries. It obviously drew a reaction from Pakistan, it drew a reaction from China. These are two very different reactions. I think, for Pakistan, it was a country which has really created an entire industry of terrorism to deal with the Kashmir issue. In my view, it’s actually bigger than Kashmir, I think they have created it for India” Jaishankar said.
He added that in the aftermath of India’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan now sees its investment of 70 years undercut if this policy succeeds.
So theirs is today a reaction of anger, of frustration in many ways, because you have built an entire industry over a long period of time, he said.
When asked that Pakistan has said a lot and what does he think it would do, Jaishankar said “this is not a Kashmir issue but a bigger issue than that and Pakistan has to accept that the model which they have built for themselves, no longer works. That you cannot, in this day and age, conduct policy using terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft. I think that’s at the heart of the issue”.
Jaishankar recalled that over the years in Jammu and Kashmir, the lack of development, lack of opportunity, actually created a sense of alienation, alienation to separatism, separatism used for terrorism.
When asked what does Pakistan need to do as a precondition for Kashmir talks, Jaishankar said, “I think we are getting this wrong. First of all Pakistan has to do something for its own good and if it does that, it would enable a normal neighbourly relationship with India”.