External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed the media on BJP govt’s 100 days

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday addressed a press briefing while presenting a report card of the ministry’s work in the first 100 days.

He said that India’s narrative on issues like cross-border terror and scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir has been articulated to the global audience. India’s stand is heard much more and clearly on the global stage now, he added.

Jaishankar argued that the global community understands India’s objective in Article 370, while separatism led to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

He said:

“Our ability, appetite to shape the foreign agenda today is much more than before. In big debates like G20, BRICS, Indian views are now heard more clearly.”

Jaishankar highlighted that collaborations have taken primacy in India’s foreign policy with growing emphasis on “connections between national security and foreign policy”.

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, the foreign minister said India faces a unique challenge from one neighbour who needs to act normal while it must take action against cross-border terrorism.

Targeting it, Jaisahankar asked which country “uses terrorism as a state policy”? He contended that all SAARC members knew which nations are helping them and which are “impeding SAARC”.

Jaishankar noted that India’s neighbourhood policy will remain no reciprocal except for one neighbour (referring to Pakistan), where he said that “challenges remain”.

He also spoke on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and firmly stated that there will be no rethink on it. The BRI, a Chinese economic corridor, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea route.

The minister asserted that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a part of India and hoped that “one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it”.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC), he maintained, was an internal issue while hitting out at Pakistan for its “treatment of minorities”. Jaishankar went on to claim that the neighbouring country “will come last in the human rights audit”.

Jaishankar also informed that the government was working to bring back Zakir Naik back from Malaysia and that a request was made for the same during the Vladivostok meeting.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday, September 17, that he hasn’t received any request for Naik’s extradition from PM Modi.

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