India wants good neighbourly relations but..: Jaishankar’s STERN message to Pakistan, China

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday sent a stern message to Pakistan and China as he interacted with the Indian community in Cyprus.

India wants good neighbourly relations with everybody but that does not mean “excusing” terrorism, the foreign minister said in a veiled dig without naming Pakistan.

On border issues with China, Jaishankar said India will never agree to any attempt to change the Line of Actual Control unilaterally.

Jaishankar is on his first official visit to Cyprus as the two countries celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. During his visit, Jaishankar met his Cypriot counterpart Kasoulides and signed an agreement on defence and military cooperation, another Letter of Intent on immigration and mobility, as well as the agreement on Cyprus joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

The two leaders also shared their vision for world peace, freedom, and democracy.

The statements come days after the Indian and the Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9. The government said there was no casualty on the Indian side which gave a befitting reply to the Chinese troops. The issue of terrorism, on the other hand, saw India and Pakistan trading barbs at United Nations recently.

“No country has suffered as much from terrorism as we have and we have been very clear that we will never accept it or normalise it. We will never allow terrorism to force us to the negotiation table. We want good neighbourly relations with everybody but that does not mean excusing or looking away or rationalising terrorism. That we are very clear,” Jaishankar said in Cyprus.

“The second, of course, is our borders. The challenges intensified during the Covid period. And you all know that the state of our relations with China are not normal because we will not agree to any attempt to change the Line of Actual Control unilaterally,” Jaishankar added.

On the national security side, Jaishankar said the message that goes out from India is of firmness. “On diplomacy, I can say that at this time there is a lot of expectation from India as India is being seen today as a strong economy and one that will contribute to the problems. We are also seen as a country which is independent and has the courage to stand up. Also, a country which is able to bring very different countries which are not able to deal with each other,” Jaishankar said.

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