External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday cited the example of the abrogation of Article 370 to explain how the politics of the day should not dictate the national interest. Replying to a question at an interaction at IIM Calcutta, Jaishankar asked why a temporary provision continued for so long if it was not for the ‘politics of the day’. The entire world used the ‘mess’ in Jammu and Kashmir for 75 years, the foreign minister said. Also Read: At SCO meet, Jaishankar’s polite ‘respect sovereignty’ message to China
“I would agree with you very much that it’s important we put the national interest first. Politics of the day should not trump the larger interest of the nation. And clearly, all politicians should have that approach in the first place,” he said, adding that it’s easy to say but does not always get done.
Citing the example of Article 370, he asked, “Let’s be honest. Other than the politics of the day what was the reason for a temporary provision to continue so long?”
“And the fact that we had such a messy issue there…I mean the entire world used it for the last 75 years. And the other is really securing our borders. The politics of the day should not lead our borders to be vulnerable,” Jaishankar said.
The Narendra Modi government, in 2019, abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
As the foreign minister answered another question on the ‘absence’ of a ‘strong opposition’ in India, Jaishankar said, “It’s not the government’s job to create an opposition.”
On the issue of F-16s being given to Pakistan, Jaishankar said in the history of the last 75 years, it has never served the world when military dictatorship is propped up. Without naming Pakistan, he said the western neighbour should go for a ‘performance evaluation’ over its support to terrorism.
In his speech, he spoke about the new India which is now an intrinsic element of global innovation. “If we brought back 7 million plus Indians during Covid through Vande Bharat mission. It is because the India of today utilises global workplace so effectively. It is due to the fact that our talents and skills are now an intrinsic element of global innovation, manufacturing and services. It is also reflective of how many Indians actually travel for personal, professional or tourism purposes. Indeed, these very issues are central to Indian diplomacy,” Jaishankar said.
Speaking on the Ukraine conflict, Jaishankar said it has widened the scope of political leveraging in which trade, debt and even tourism are being weaponised as points of pressure. “This emanates from the weaponisation of everything. In recent years, we have already seen how trade, connectivity, debt, resources and even tourism have become points of political pressure. The Ukraine conflict has dramatically widened the scope of such leveraging,” Jaishankar said on the topic of India and the World.
(With agency inputs)