External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on Tuesday, while addressing the media on completing 100 days of the Ministry of External Affairs, expressed hope that India would build even stronger ties with the neighbouring countries. In a palpable reference to Pakistan, Jaishankar said that one neighbour has been proving to be a ‘unique challenge’.
“We hope to build a stronger neighbourhood. However, we recognise the unique challenge from one neighbour. Until the issue of cross-border terrorism is addressed successfully until the neighbour becomes a normal neighbour, it will continue to remain a challenge,” said Jaishankar.
Jaishankar said that Pakistan only offers nice words on fighting cross border terrorism but does nothing in terms of dismantling the terror network.
On Pakistan’s repeated charge that its invitation to talks has been turned down by India Jaishankar said, “Part of the problem is that Pakistan is only doing talking. It has not been doing anything other than this. They think that nice words are an answer to the real problem, and the real problem is the dismantlement of this industry (cross border terror) that they have created.
“The question is not whether what can you talk about, it’s not an India issue. Show me a country in the world that can accept that its neighbour can conduct terrorism and then it will go and talk to them.
“Our position is completely normal, rational. They are the set of people whose behaviour is an aberration,” he said.
On the issue of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Jaishankar asserted that India’s position has always been that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is very much a part of India and that New Delhi expects to have physical jurisdiction over it in the future. “Yes, our position on PoK is, has been and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India and we expect one day that we will have physical jurisdiction over it,” he said.
On the India-US relations, he said that both the countries have come a long way and their relations are in very good health. “As the relationship grows there will be issues. We’ve been talking to the US and my expectation is that the sharper edges will be addressed in the not too distant future, he said, adding that US President Donald Trump attending the Howdy Modi event on Sunday in Houston along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a matter of great honour for India.