S Jaishankar: Entire neighbourhood, minus one, has been a good story

Published: Oct 05, 2019, 09:23 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hits out at Pakistan in the World Economic Forum, says that country must overcome its mindset issue

S Jaishankar
S Jaishankar

New Delhi: In an obvious reference to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said India's entire neighbourhood "minus one" has been a "fairly good story" for regional cooperation. The abrogation of Article 370 provisions did come up for discussion in his meetings during the recent US visit, Jaishankar added at a session of the India Economic Summit here.

"That is natural for many people when there is a change of status...," he said during a conversation with World Economic Forum president Borge Brende. Jaishankar said he "spoke fairly extensively" in the US on the Kashmir issue — on the background, history, "why we did, what we did" — and asserted that a lot of it was new to the people he discussed the matter with.

"Hardly anybody had the realisation that this (Article 370) was a temporary article in the Constitution or the mis-alignment due to the fact that a lot of the national laws did not apply in Jammu and Kashmir state. These were all new things to them," Jaishankar said.

Discussing India's push for strengthening of ties with its neighbours, the minister said, "I would say the entire neighbourhood, minus one, has actually been a fairly good story of regional cooperation." Asked if the impasse with 'minus one' would continue, he said he hopes that someday even the 'minus one' comes around to regional cooperation.

"You put Kashmir aside for a moment...Today, with everybody else, trade, business, connectivity and contacts are increasing. Surely, at some stage, that would have an impact because you would see everybody else prospering with that cooperation," the external affairs minister said. "I always remain hopeful. I'm not unrealistic, I know we have big challenges. They (Pakistan) have a mindset issue that they have to overcome," Jaishankar said. The two-day India Economic Summit, which ended on Friday, was organised by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry.

MEA on Imran

India on Friday condemned the "provocative and irresponsible" statements against it by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and said he is unaware of how international relations are conducted. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the comments made by Khan do not behove the post he holds. "I think he is not unaware of how international relations are conducted. On that basis, he gives such statements. He had given an open call for Jihad against India. This is not a normal behaviour," Kumar said.

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