‘Difficult to engage with neighbor who practices terror against us’: Jaishankar

Panama City: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took a veiled dig at Pakistan and said that it is very difficult to engage with a neighbour, who practices cross-border terrorism against India. The External Affairs Minister made the remarks while addressing a joint press briefing with the Foreign Minister of Panama, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, in Panama City.

Jaishankar said, “The bottom line on this issue is it is very difficult for us to engage with a neighbour who practices cross-border terrorism against us. We’ve always said that they have to deliver on the commitment not to encourage, sponsor and carry out cross-border terrorism. We continue to hope that one day we will reach that stage.”

Jaishankar’s remarks were the first response to the announcement by Pakistan that foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would be visiting India for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers meeting in Goa next month. It is the first time that the senior-most Pakistan foreign affairs functionary will visit India since 2016.

EAM Jaishankar is on a two-day visit to Panama. He arrived in Panama City this week and was received by Panama’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Francos.

During a press conference with Panama’s foreign minister, Jaishankar downplayed the significance of Zardari’s visit, stating that it was part of a multilateral meeting.

“Where this particular meeting is concerned, we are both members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, so we typically attend its meetings. We are the chair this year, so the meeting is taking place in India this year,” he said in Panama City.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army said that if India tried any transgression across the border, then the Pakistan Army will give a “befitting” response.

“If, due to any miscalculation and misunderstanding, India tries to conspire against Pakistan, then we will give a befitting reply. There should be no doubt about it… If required, we can take this battle to the enemy’s territory as well,” said Pakistan Army’s Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif.

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