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‘No Time to Read It’: Jaishankar on Imran Khan’s ‘N-War’ Op-Ed

Khan had argued that it was urgent to begin discussions while a “nuclear shadow” hovers over South Asia.

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“Didn't have the time to read it”, is how External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar dismissed the vitriolic opinion piece written by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in The New York Times where he has threatened the world with the spectre of a nuclear war over Kashmir.

Khan had argued that it was urgent to begin discussions while a “nuclear shadow” hovers over South Asia.

In an interview with POLITICO in Brussels last week, Jaishankar also predicted that security restrictions across Kashmir would be eased in the “coming days”.

“Pakistan openly practises terrorism and there is no scope for negotiations until Islamabad reins in its financing and recruitment of militant groups,” said Jaishankar.

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‘Talks & Terror Cannot Go Together’

“Terrorism is not something that is being conducted in dark corners of Pakistan. It's done in broad daylight,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

He added, “India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.”

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On Communication Outage

He said the Internet and telephone outages were needed to stop the activation of “terrorist assets” and to prevent “people who are doing violence to contact each other.”

“How do I cut off communications between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the Internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know.”
Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister

“I would suggest to you that in the coming days you will see an easing up progressively,” he said.

He added that this should involve a reduction in the number of extra security forces, as he wants the police sent back to their original duties soon.

“Frankly, they have other jobs and other things to do,” said Jaishankar.

He also denied that there was a Hindu nationalist agenda in removing Kashmir's special status in order to allow more non-Muslims to buy property there and muscle aside the Muslim majority.

“The kind of people who say this are people who don't know India. Does this sound like the culture of India?” he asked.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi on 5 August abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

Pakistan has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora, but India has maintained that it is an internal matter and has asked Islamabad to accept the same.

During his visit to Brussels, Jaishankar met president of the European Parliament David Sassoli and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, who urged dialogue between India and Pakistan, the report said.

Mogherini “stressed the importance of steps to restore the rights and freedoms of the population in Kashmir,” Mogherini's office said in a statement.

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India in the Mood to Compromise: Jaishankar on US’ Stance on Tariffs

On India's relations with US President Donald Trump, Jaishankar broached the challenges posed by a potential tit-for-tat tariff war, India's interest in resuming purchases of Iranian oil and US reservations about India's acquisition of S-400 surface-to-air missiles.

Discussing Trump's increasingly hard stance on Indian tariffs, the minister said that India is in the mood to compromise.

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“Like any relationship, there's give and take. Our expectation is that our trade ministers will sit down in the near future. I think many of these issues are eminently (open) to resolution,” Jaishankar said.

On arms' purchases from Russia, Jaishankar said that he is not going to be deterred from a “solid, time-tested” relationship with Moscow, the report said.

“We would not accept any country telling us who to buy weapons from and who not to buy from,” he was quoted as saying in the report. 

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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