‘It returns to haunt’: Jaishankar’s veiled message to Pakistan

New Dehli: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that terrorism is the biggest enemy to peace and development and the world must not countenance its use by one state against another, and must unite together against the menace of cross-border terrorism.

Addressing the 6th Ministerial meeting of the Conference of Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Kazakh capital, he said: “If peace and development is our common goal, the biggest enemy we must overcome is terrorism. In this day and age, we cannot countenance its use by one state against another.

“Cross-border terrorism is not statecraft; it is simply another form of terrorism. The international community must unite against this menace, as seriously as it does on issues like climate change and pandemics. Any calculation that extremism, radicalisation, violence and bigotry can be used to advance interests is a very short-sighted one.

“Such forces will come back to haunt those who nurture them. Lack of stability will also undermine our collective efforts to get Covid under control. The situation in Afghanistan is, therefore, of grave concern,” he stressed.

He also said the response to Covid has brought out the limitations of the current multilateralism and the case for reformed multilateralism is strong.

“Any collective, including families are best served by participative and consultative decision-making. Eight decades ago, when the current global order was being debated, it was a very different world. The members of the UN have quadrupled since then. Asia especially, but also Africa and Latin America, are inadequately represented in its decision-making.

“The limitations of the multilateral response to the Covid pandemic were starkly evident. This only makes a case for reformed multilateralism more urgent with each passing day,” he added.

He spoke on connectivity and said it must respect the most basic principle of international relations– respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, in an oblique reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which crosses Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

“Promotion of economic and social activity is intrinsic to progress and prosperity. Asia, in particular, suffers from a deficit of connectivity which is so essential for that purpose.

“As we build these modern arteries of commerce, it is absolutely essential that the most basic principles of international relations are observed. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations rank foremost among them.

“It is also important that connectivity building is a participative and consensual exercise, based on financial viability and local ownership. They must not serve other agendas,” he stressed, in an oblique reference to countries around the world falling into a debt trap due to China’s BRI.

He also touched on India’s Vaccine Maitri, on development of resilient and reliable supply chains and on climate action.

He said that India has always seen the world as a family, expressed in the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’” – the world is one family.

“Naturally, this applies in even greater measure to Asia. Our belief is expressed in a variety of ways, including in meeting challenges and finding solutions together. This was clearly in evidence during the Covid pandemic, when we provided vaccines, medicines and medical supplies, as well as expertise to more than 150 nations.”

He said that Climate action ranks high among the pressing challenges confronting the world. “In many ways, the mind-set required is similar if we are to decisively forge ahead. Both pandemic and climate change require genuine and sincere international collaboration. They must ensure accessibility and affordability, especially to the most vulnerable. And they are a call for us all to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.”

He said the post-pandemic world requires resilient and reliable supply chains. “It encourages additional engines of economic growth. It also puts a premium on greater trust and transparency. CICA can make a notable contribution to all these endeavours that will enhance security and sustainable development in Asia,” he added. (Agencies)

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