NEW DELHI: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said he could use “much harsher words” than “epicenter” to describe Pakistan’s role in promoting cross-border terrorism.
“Just because you’re a diplomat doesn’t mean you’re dishonest. I could use much harsher words than epicenter, so believe me, considering what happened to us, I think epicenter is a very diplomatic word,” Jaishankar said in an interview with Austria’s ZIB2 podcast.
Jaishankar left on December 29 for a bi-nation visit to Cyprus and Austria. His current visit to Austria will end on January 3rd.
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Jaishankar slams European nations
Stressing that the world needs to be more concerned about terrorism, the minister slammed European nations for not condemning “terrorist practices” that have been going on in the neighboring nation for several decades.
“This is a country that attacked the Indian Parliament a few years ago, that attacked the city of Mumbai, that attacked hotels and foreign tourists, that sends terrorists across the border every day,” Jaishankar said, referring to the Mumbai 2008 attacks.
During a joint press conference with Austria’s foreign ministry, Jaishankar said (without naming a specific country, but the reference was obvious) that our experiences and insights are valuable to others because the “epicenter of terrorism is close to India.”
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During the ZIB2 podcast, when the host said that Pakistan as a country does not spread terrorism, Jaishankar replied: “If you control your sovereign space, which I believe you do. When terrorist camps can operate in broad daylight in cities with recruitment and funding Are you really telling me the Pakistani state doesn’t know what’s going on? Above all, they are trained in combat tactics at the military level.”
Jaishankar also lashed out at European countries for not condemning Pakistan. “If we talk about judgments and principles, why don’t I hear strong European condemnation of these decades-long practices?” he said.
When asked about the possibility of war in the future between India and Pakistan, Jaishankar said that “the world should be more concerned about terrorism.”
“The world needs to be concerned that terrorism is going on and they look the other way, often feeling like it’s not their problem because it’s happening to some other countries. I think the world needs to be concerned about how sincerely and strongly they are taking on the challenge of terrorism,” Jaishankar said.
He also hit anchor because he defended the issue of terrorism and “gave Pakistan a free pass.”
“We all have to be concerned about terrorism. When you present it the way you do it’s like you’re giving terrorism a free pass, you know, we’re worried about the next episodes of that. I worry about terrorism,” added Jaishankar.
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“China to blame for border conflicts”
During the interview, Jaishankar also spoke about border tensions between India and China.
He directly accused China of disrupting the border peace that had largely existed since the 1962 war.
“They have satellite images. When you see who moved the forces to the border areas first, I think the record is very clear,” Jaishankar said. “We had agreements with China not to mass troops in our border areas and they have not honored those agreements, which is why we have a tense situation at the moment. We had an agreement not to unilaterally change the Line of Control, which they have unilaterally tried to do.”
(With contributions from agencies)