Pakistan sponsoring terrorism at ‘industry level’, says EAM Jaishankar

He is on a three-day visit to Singapore

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar Singapore visit External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar | PTI

Underlining that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism almost at an "industry level", External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday asserted that the mood in India now is not to overlook terrorists and it "will not skirt this problem anymore".

Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to Singapore, made these remarks during a Q&A round held post his lecture session on his authored book 'Why Bharat Matters' at Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) of National University of Singapore (NUS).

"Every country wants a stable neighbourhood...if nothing else, you want at least a quiet neighbourhood," he said in response to a question on India's ties with Pakistan.

However, unfortunately, it is not the same with India, he said.

Underlining that Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism against India, Jaishankar asked, "How do you deal with a neighbour who does not hide the fact that they use terrorism as an instrument of statecraft?"

"It's not a one-off happening...but very sustained, almost at an industry level...So what we have come to conclude is that we have to find a way of addressing (the menace), that dodging the problem gets us nowhere, it only invites more trouble," he said.

"I don't have a quick instantaneous fix (to this issue). But what I can tell you is that India will not skirt this problem anymore. We are not going to say, 'well, that happened and let's continue our dialogue'...we have a problem and we must be honest enough to face up to that problem, however difficult it is...we should not give the other country a free pass, saying there's nothing they can do about it or it's a very hard problem, or there's so much else at stake that let us overlook," he asserted.

In India now, Jaishankar said, "the mood is not to overlook terrorists".

Ties between India and Pakistan strained after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country.

The relationship nosedived after India's warplanes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019, in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.

The relations deteriorated further after India announced the withdrawal of the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August 2019.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with it in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

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