‘A terrorist is a terrorist’ in any language and one should not allow terrorism to be excused or defended: Jaishankar

PTI, Mar 25, 2024, 8:34 AM IST

In a veiled jibe at China, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday that “a terrorist is a terrorist” in any language and one should not allow terrorism to be excused or defended because of a different explanation of it.

Jaishankar’s remarks came during his interaction with the Indian community members in Singapore.

Responding to a question on how Indian officials approach sensitive and linguistically different topics with their global counterparts, the minister said that in diplomacy, different countries bring their own cultures, traditions and sometimes their language or concepts to debate.

”It’s also natural that there will be different viewpoints. And what diplomacy is about is to find a way of reconciling it and coming to some kind of agreement,” he said.

Jaishankar said however there are some issues when there is clarity and no confusion.

Giving the example of terrorism, he said: ”You can take it in any language, but a terrorist is a terrorist in any language.” ”Never allow something like terrorism to be excused or defended because they’re using a different language or a different explanation,” he said, in an apparent reference to China, which has often blocked proposals by India and the US at the United Nations Security Council to blacklist several Pakistan-based terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajid Mir.

He said there can be issues where two nations genuinely can have different viewpoints and there ”will be issues when they are used as a cover as an excuse as a justification.” He said one should be able to spot the difference and figure out a way how to deal with it.

In his address, Jaishankar recapped India-Singapore relations dating back to the independence struggling days when Subhas Chandra Bose established the Indian National Army and made the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call.

“He (Neta ji) remains a visible inspiration for our entire nation,” Jaishankar said as he joined some 1,500 Indian diaspora members at the screening of the Singapore-made short film on Netaji.

As India has globalized, the two countries’ relations that began as Look East policy and then on Act East policy… has gone on to India being in the Indo-Pacific – the story in many ways actually began in Singapore, Jaishankar shared with the business-focused Indian community here.

The more India globalises, every aspect of that will be reflected in the intensity and quality of relationships with Singapore, Jaishankar underscored.

“Singapore has been our partner in the globalisation of India and that role and companionship is something that we value,” said Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to the Asian financial hub.

Jaishankar also updated the Singapore-based Indian community on the accelerated pace of infrastructure development in India and highlighted “Bharat being a global friend”.

“This is India which will not be pressured, which will state its mind. If it has to make a choice, we will make a choice for the welfare of our citizens … So, the idea is of much stronger, more capable India and willing to take the tough course,” he said.

Jaishankar assured that this is an India which looks after its citizens and people of Indian origins.

“As more and more Indians settle in different parts of the world, it is our responsibility to secure them, to ensure their wellbeing if they are in a difficult stage, to bring them home,” he said. Ukraine and Sudan were cited as examples of where Indians were caught between the wars among others.

”The capable India, the diplomatic India, the reformed India, the protective India… in many ways the innovative India,” he stressed, pointing to the global respect won by the Chandrayan landing on the Moon.

There is also India, which is a friend of the world. “Friendships begets more friendship,” he said, pointing to the supply of vaccines to nearly 100 countries during Covid-19.

“And we step forward at times of difficulties,” said Jaishankar, adding that India gave a package of USD 4.5 billion to Sri Lanka during the island state’s economic crisis.

“Across the Indian Ocean today, if there is a problem, and the very difficult situation in the Red Sea, we have 21 ships fighting piracy and boarding and searching vessels.

“We have done in the last three months more than 1,000 search missions,” Jaishankar told Non-resident Indians on the level of global service being provided by India. These are examples of responsible India.” Nimit Shedh, from the Singapore Gujarati Society, said, “It was very insightful (address).” “The Minister has shared with us how India has come a very long way, it makes us very proud,” said Puneet Pushkarna, a Singapore-based businessman at the Jaishankar interaction here.

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