New Delhi: Unlike his usual mild manner but very assertive, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has used very strong words vis-à-vis seeking ties with a neighbour such as Pakistan and insisted that Islamabad's use of terrorism was not acceptable as a term of friendship in a 'civilised world'.
"Everybody wants to be friends with their neighbours. But you want to be friends on terms which a civilised world will accept. Terrorism is not one of those terms," Dr Jaishankar said at the DD News Conclave Finale, focusing on India First Foreign Policy.
He said that Pakistan uses terrorism as an instrument of 'statecraft', which is unacceptable. He also said that neighbours exist to foster connectivity, trade, bilateral cooperation and growth. "All of that has not happened with this neighbour," he pointed out, and the scenario was quite in contrast with the eastern neighbour Bangladesh.
Elaborating on various facets of the India-Pakistan relationship, he said whether the same kind of ties would remain between the two countries in the next 75 years as has been the case in the past," a lot of it would depend on their (Pak) mindset". "Because…what is the difference between us. The difference is in many ways we have been increasingly democratic," he said, adding in contrast, Pakistan has "artificial uniformity" (perhaps in the form of religion) and "which did not last (split of Bangladesh)".
"Their mindset has been very much to use terrorism as a statecraft, which is something we would never accept."
In this context, he said India has had a long history of friendship with Afghanistan.
"Afghan people know what India has done for them, what kind of friends we have been, I am sure they are contrasted with what Pakistan did for them in the same period. I think the differences are obvious," Dr Jaishankar said.
The Minister also maintained that – "We should not try to imitate ourselves to make ourselves acceptable. We are what we are; we should be proud of it."
He said India is an old civilisation and now a modern state playing an important role globally.
"Lot of us have grown to believe that democracy is a western concept….," he said, suggesting this was erroneous and pointed out that India for long has had wide diversity and this diversity 'makes a democracy', "Agreed to facilitate travel….," says Jaishankar on vaccine row with the UK
Hours after Britain relaxed norms on Covid vaccines, giving ease to Indians travelling to that country, all the bitterness of 'tit-for-tat' rhetoric seems to be over.
On Friday (October 8), External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar spoke to his counterpart, Liz Truss, tweeted rather in a soft tune – "Good to talk to UK Foreign Secretary @trussliz'.
Dr Jaishankar further wrote – "Agreed to facilitate travel between our two countries. This will help to implement the Roadmap 2030".
"No quarantine for Indian travellers to the UK fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from October 11. Thanks to the Indian government for close cooperation over last month," tweeted. British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, is ending the stalemate on October 7.
Making the United Kingdom understand things in a language and gesture it understands better, on October 1, the Indian government finally decided to impose 'reciprocity' on all British nationals arriving in India from the UK with regard to the vaccine and COVID-19 protocols.
But now, things appear to have been resolved, and ties will be back to normal soon.
For her part, Ms Liz Truss has also retweeted Dr Jaishankar's message on the microblogging site.
The unilateral restrictions on Indian travellers and not to recognise Indian vaccination had certainly irked Indian authorities.
At some quarters, the observers found the British decision (of restrictions and quarantine for Indians) reflected the 'colonialist mindset'.
Surprisingly, the UK norms had said that while those who received Covishield in the UK count as vaccinated, those who got it in India are not.
Notably, the Covishield is a formulation of Oxford University's vaccine against Covid-19, manufactured locally in India by the Serum Institute of India.
New Delhi had earlier 'exported' the vaccine to the UK, which means many people in the UK got vaccinated with Covishield from India.