Sending out a clear message to Pakistan India today asked it to desist from “blocking every possible initiative” under SAARC, cautioning such a hugely damaging approach will force countries of the region to look for other options like BIMSTEC to boost regional cooperation.
Without naming Pakistan, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said some basic standards of regional cooperation have to apply as he noted its opposition to major initiatives like those aimed at improving regional connectivity have frustrated a majority of the member countries.
In an address at a leading think tank, Jaishankar, dwelling on China-Pakistan ties, said some issues arising out of the relationship were causing concern to India, including the economic corridor Beijing was building through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
When asked about Pakistan’s oft repeated threat of use of tactical nuclear weapons, the top diplomat said, “We do not speak of tactical nuclear weapons, somebody else does.”
At the interactive session, he said there was no need for major powers to get involved in resolution of issues between India and Pakistan, saying it gives rise to “expectations and illusions” that are not sustained by objective facts on the ground.
Referring to the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan and some other instances, he said there was some sort of involvement of great powers in the past. He, however, insisted that “a constantly interfering umpire” does not allow the game to take its natural course.
He said India’s “allergy” to involvement of any great power in Indo-Pak ties is well known. Talking about “fluidity” of geo-politics and fast changing foreign policy space, Jaishankar, who has just returned from the US, said there will be change in the terms of engagement between the US and the world under Donald Trump’s presidency.
On SAARC, he said India has immense interest in the grouping while calling “hugely damaging” to the region as well as Asia Pakistan’s approach in blocking major regional initiatives under the grouping.
The annual summit of the grouping was to be held in Islamabad but it was cancelled after India and many other member countries decided not to participate.