‘We Expect to Have Physical Jurisdiction Over PoK’: EAM Jaishankar
In External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar’s first press conference in his new position, he mentioned the achievements and outlook of the Modi government 2.0 and opened the floor to an hour-long question-and-answer session. The EAM said the foreign ministry now enjoys a 40% higher budget than it did in 2014, and went on to give a snapshot of the kinds of goals it has achieved.
Here are the highlights:
- Jammu & Kashmir:
- [On international media response to reading down of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir] “Don’t worry too much about what people will say about J&K. There is complete predictability about my position. At the end of the day, it is my issue. On my issue, my position has prevailed, will prevail.”
- Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK):
- “PoK is part of India and we expect that one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it.”
- United States:
- [On US lawmakers’ comments on J&K] US Congress members, what they say is not necessarily a reflection of their knowledge on that particular subject. They say things often because somebody comes to them and says, ‘I think you need to say this’.”
- “The relationship is in very good health; I am satisfied and optimistic. As the relationship grows, there will be issues. The only way to not have trade problems is if you don’t trade. These [trade] problems are normal and reflective of a substantial relationship.”
- [On Huawei] “We will take a call on Huawei and 5G, once it passes the complicated process of trials. People are unnecessarily politicising it, it’s for the Telecom Department to look at it, it has technological implications, and there could be other implications that other agencies will look at. The idea that ‘this is a foreign policy choice’, I don’t think is accurately perceiving the issue.”
- [On Chinese ships’ aggression in South China Sea] “We are working there in conjunction with the Vietnamese, and I think a lot of the responses to that are being handled by the Vietnamese, which is the way it should be.”
MEA’s Foreign Policy Approach Over Last 5 Years
- Focus on leveraging global technology, best practices, partnerships and resources to contribute to national, economic and social progress.
- Stronger connection between national security interests and foreign policy
- Stronger appetite to shape global agenda
- Diaspora a unique aspect of foreign policy
- Attended a number of multilateral fora in the neighbourhood: ASEAN, SECA, SCO, BIMSTEC, BRICS, being a few, pursuant to Look East policy
- Increased engagement with the West; PM received highest civilian awards in both UAE and Bahrain
- On track with vision for Africa: 18 new embassies to open on the continent. Out of commitment of $10 billion lines of credit, have crossed $6.5 billion. Committed to $600 million in grants, have reached $700 million.
- First country to complete a project in Rakhine state (Myanmar): 250 houses built
- PM inaugurated Motihari-Amlekhganj pipeline in Nepal and built the 50,000 houses that were promised after the Nepal earthquake.
- PM inaugurated Mangdechhu Dam in Bhutan and inaugurated ISRO’s ground earth station
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