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'If I Have A Good Guest, I Am A Good Host': S Jaishankar On Interaction With Pakistan Counterpart Bilawal Bhutto

Swarajya StaffSunday, May 7, 2023 7:05 pm IST
Dr S Jaishankar pictured speaking in Mysuru about the foreign policy of the Modi government
Dr S Jaishankar pictured speaking in Mysuru about the foreign policy of the Modi government

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Goa, tensions were high between India and Pakistan.

While attending the meeting, Pakistan's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made some public utterances which didn't leave his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar, pleased.

In response, Jaishankar later stated that he is a good host if the guest is also good, implying that Zardari was not a good guest.

At a meeting in Mysuru discussing the Narendra Modi government's foreign policy, Jaishankar was asked about Pakistan's presence at the SCO foreign ministers' meet.

India's external affairs minister noted that his Pakistani counterpart had only spoken out on issues such as India, the G20 summit, the Kashmir situation, and the BBC documentary, and nothing about the SCO for which he was actually invited.

"What do I do as a host? If I have a good guest, I am a good host," Jaishankar said. His comments were met with applause from the crowd.

The Pakistani foreign minister was invited to India for the SCO foreign ministers' meeting, as is customary with multilateral meetings, said Jaishankar.

Bilawal Bhutto attended the conference in his capacity as the representative of Pakistan to express his views on topics related to the SCO.

Although opinions might differ, Jaishankar emphasised that the meeting room was a platform where opinions could be voiced and debated upon.

Following the SCO meeting, Jaishankar criticised Bilawal Bhutto by expressing that the individuals affected by terrorism and those accountable for it should not sit together, in response to Bilawal's comment on "weaponising terrorism."

The Pakistan foreign minister responded by saying Jaishankar's reaction displays insecurity and being unsettled because Bilawal's visit had affected India's "fake narrative" regarding Pakistan.

"What do you mean we should not weaponise terrorism? That means, as a victim, I'm supposed to put up with it. So you not only commit terrorism, but you say, oh, please, do not even speak about it? Come on. So, to me, that sentence, it spoke so much about a mindset of that country that you can all see for yourselves," Jaishankar said.

India aims to establish a port in Iran, but to do so, it must bypass Pakistan to gain access to Central Asia.

Speaking on the issue, Jaishankar stated that perpetual hostility with Pakistan serves no purpose and is against common sense. However, if a neighbour attacks India, it cannot be business as usual.

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