New Delhi: On the account of 100 days of the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led administration, Union External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar addressed the government’s developments in shaping the global agenda from India’s relation with Pakistan to climate change and sustainable development.
On Pakistan and Kashmir
Highlighting the contentious debate on the Kashmir issue with regards to Pakistan, Jaishankar said that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) has always been a part of India and the government will soon have a “physical jurisdiction” over it.
“Our position has, is and will always be very clear on PoK, that it is part of India and we expect one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it,” he said at the press conference adding that India’s position on such internal issues has and will always remain the same.
As a result, the Indian government will only hold talks with Pakistan about PoK, eliminating all possibilities of debates on Kashmir.
Calling it a ‘unique challenge’ Jaishankar said, “We hope to build a better, stronger neighbourhood but recognising that we have a unique challenge from one neighbour until the issue of cross border terrorism is successfully addressed & that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour that would remain a challenge.”
On India’s Global Position
The Union Minister highlighted the numerous foreign trips taken by PM Modi during the span of his two terms. He said, “I think today if you look at the big debates at multilateral forums – G20, BRICS, you will see that the Indian voice, Indian views are today heard much more clearly.”
“There is a strong link between domestic and foreign policy. The co-relation between our national policy goals and foreign policy goals has become stronger,” he added.
On Consular Access to Kulbhushan
Days after receiving the second jolt on consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav as Pakistan denied it, EAM Jaishankar said that India’s prior objective was the ascertain his well-being and seeking access to him would have provided that remedy which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has mandated.
“We had to look at a variety of factors and see what is most import thing to put at this time to ascertain his well-being. We thought to ascertain his well-being is a priority at this point and we wanted to begin proceedings however unsatisfactory they may be,” he said.
On Zakir Naik
The External Affairs Minister also responded to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not requested Malaysia for the extradition of Zakir Naik and said that the government “want(s) him back and that is what we are working towards.”
Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Naik’s extradition during his Malaysia visit. Both the PMs had decided that four officials will stay in contact regarding the matter.
Controversial preacher Zakir Naik is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, has also been banned from holding any public rally in Malaysia.
On Indian-US Relations
Jaishankar said that India has “come a long way” with its relation with the US and it has been in “good health” since then.
Talking on the Howdy Modi event that is set to take place in Houston, Texas, Jaishankar said that it is a “great achievement” for the Indian-American community. He said that India’s diaspora is the unique aspect of its foreign policy and that is underlined by the upcoming “big diaspora event” in Houston partnership with our Indian-American community.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Texas in the United States to attend the “Howdy Modi!” mega-event that will take place at Houston’s NRG Stadium. The event is expected to be attended by 50,000 members of the Indian-American diaspora and will be joined by US President Donald Trump.
On India’s Efforts on Climate Change
Union Minister Jaishankar also pointed out India’s efforts in addressing the global issue of climate change. “My point is our ability, our appetite to shape the global agenda is much more now than before. You can see that in the area of climate change,” he said adding that India’s voice is heard much more clearly now on global platforms.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an all-India ban on single-use plastic that will be effective starting October 2. The ban has been imposed in an attempt to protect the environment for a sustainable future.