I watched interaction of India’s Foreign Minister. Jaishankar at the Council for Foreign Relations held in New York with delight.
India has had some awful and some good foreign ministers. But one thing that India probably never had was a suave, smart, aggressive and articulate minister who could cut through the BS of the bleeding hearts with detached yet spectacularly incisive language. Jaishankar is that man.
Pakistan’s record at setting up the terror factories is stellar. You can read about that indepth here. How Pakistan set up Jihad and Terror in Afghanistan and Used it Globally. In that context that the Indian leadership is firm, strong and articulate about what it wants to do and why. The reactionaries will keep on doing their own drama, but the “adults in the room” have to stand up and put things in perspective.
While Imran Khan and the Pakistanis try and sell the apparition of Islamophobia and the falsehoods on Kashmir, here was one man who is plain yet delightfully nuanced language with amazing argumentation demolished the Pakistani narrative.
Highlights from Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar’s interaction
I have tried to pen down some of the highlights from that interaction that will get his mastery across. He is a man to watch.
To read the full transcript of the chat with former US Ambassador Frank Wisner, please go to the CFR site to read.
- Well, you used two keywords and I would like to begin by differentiating that. One was Kashmir and the other was Pakistan. And I’ll tell you why I do that. I don’t think that the fundamental issue between India and Pakistan is Kashmir. I think it’s part of the issues between us.
- Of course, everyone wants to talk to their neighbors. The issue is, how do I talk to a country that is conducting terrorism and which frankly I would say follows a policy of implausible deniability.
- They do it, they kind of pretend they don’t do it. They know that pretense is not serious, but yet they do it. So, how do you address that and I think its a huge challenge for us.
- You had the abortive attack on the Indian Parliament. So I think .. we should distinguish between antipathy, the deep antipathy that the segments of Pakistan nurse towards India from coveting Kashmir. I think they are autonomous issues.
- It’s very difficult in real life to separate issues. If the dominant narrative of a relationship is of terrorism, suicide bombings, violence and then you say, ‘okay guys, now tea break, let’s go and play cricket’. That’s a very hard narrative to sell to people.”
- So this is a democracy, the sentiments of people do matter. And the one message I don’t want to give is, you do terrorism by night and it’s business as usual by day. And, unfortunately, that’s the message I would give if I were to follow this one (allow cricket matches between India and Pakistan).
- Pakistan will not trade with India, is a member of the WTO but will not extend MFN status, even though they are legally obliged to and New Delhi did it. You have a neighbor who would not allow you connectivity. So we have, for example, the potential to use Pakistan to transit on to Afghanistan, Iran but they will not allow you that connectivity. So it’s a very challenging neighbor.
- Now, all of that you could still handle if they then don’t do the one thing which is actually unacceptable in the world today, which is to conduct terrorism, as in their eyes, a legitimate tool of statecraft as a way of pressurizing you to come to the negotiating table.
- It’s not acceptable today as a sort of norm of international relations anymore. you have terrorism in different parts of the world, but there’s no part of the world where the country uses it consciously, deliberately as a large scale industry against it’s neighbor.
What is needed from the Indian side is not to fight the Pakistani rhetoric by similar low-level ways. But, by becoming the voice of leadership the world over for key issues like Climate Change and Trade and yet demolish the falsehoods and lies of Pakistan. And, what an amazing exhibition of that strategy was on display by the Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar.
Featured Image – screengrab from the Youtube video.