Calling the issues of citizenship regarding the new law, abrogation of Article 370 and the building of a Ram Temple as legacy issues, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday that what the government has to deal with right now are the problems which were not addressed earlier.
“Today, we have accumulated a legacy of problems, and if you see today what is happening in this country, these problems have caught up with us…,” the minister said at the release of the book ‘Pax Sinica: Implications for the Indian Dawn’, by Akhil Deo and Samir Saran of the Observer Research Foundation.
On the citizenship issue, he said, “Just look at the citizenship issue, the citizenship issue started 40-50 years ago, Rajiv Gandhi did an agreement in Assam in 1980s.”
Mentioning Article 370, he said, “It was a temporary Article, if you look through the Constituent Assembly, the general sentiment…went on for 70 years.” He said, “Look at Ayodhya. Show me where in the world you will have an unresolved problem for 150 years.”
Also referring to GST, he said, “Take something like GST. Today, it is blindingly obvious that we need a single tax system and yet people kept kicking it down the road.”
Citing the example of China, he said the society needs a mindset to solve problems to rise as a global power.
“China prepared in a way to become the power they seem to be heading towards,” he said. “You don’t get to be a big-league power by evolution and accident, it takes leadership, it takes preparation.”
He said India too needs to develop its narratives, which should include putting out “the core interests very clearly”.
He said in India’s case, “territorial integrity is a core interest” which cannot be traded for economic benefits. He also mentioned terrorism and stated that “no country has been battered by terrorism and has been a victim of terrorism in a way in which we have”.
“It is vital that we should never, ever allow terrorism to be normalised,” he said.
Asked if allowing a Pakistani team to investigate the Pathankot attack put the perpetrator and the victim of terrorism on the same plane, Jaishankar said, “When Pathankot happened, even the Pakistanis accepted who was the perpetrator.”
He said the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif “didn’t deny it” and mentioned that a FIR was also filed in Pakistan. “The investigation which happened was to pressurise the Pakistanis that they didn’t have an excuse to say ‘we made an offer you didn’t accept it’,” he said.
He added that the Narendra Modi government is “very clear” on “who’s the victim and who’s the perpetrator. That has been a consistent narrative, and it stays that way”.
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