New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described terrorism as the “biggest enemy” of the common goal of peace and development for members of CICA, a multinational forum for cooperation to promote security and stability in Asia that was established under Kazakhstan’s leadership in 1999.
Forces of extremism, radicalisation and violence “come back to haunt those who nurture them,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a thinly veiled attack on Pakistan’s support for cross-border terrorism.
Jaishankar also used his speech at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Kazakhstan to target China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations must be at the heart of all connectivity projects, he said. His remarks came against the backdrop of mounting concerns in New Delhi over Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15. India has also opposed initiatives under BRI, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), because a key stretch passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Jaishankar described terrorism as the “biggest enemy” of the common goal of peace and development for members of CICA, a multinational forum for cooperation to promote security and stability in Asia that was established under Kazakhstan’s leadership in 1999.
“In this day and age, we cannot countenance its [terrorism’s] use by one state against another. Cross-border terrorism is not statecraft; it is simply another form of terrorism,” Jaishankar said in an apparent reference to Pakistan. “The international community must unite against this menace, as seriously as it does on issues like climate change and pandemics. Any calculation that extremism, radicalisation, violence, and bigotry can be used to advance interests is a very short-sighted one. Such forces will come back to haunt those who nurture them,” he said.
Any lack of stability in the region will undermine collective efforts to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, and the “situation in Afghanistan is, therefore, of grave concern”, he added. Jaishankar also raised the situation in Afghanistan when the foreign ministers of CICA states collectively called on Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
He said on Twitter that he had underlined CICA’s relevance in addressing challenges such as terrorism, pandemics and protection of global commons, and highlighted that “Afghanistan developments have generated understandable concern”. CICA can be a positive factor in shaping a global response, he said.
During his speech at the CICA foreign ministers’ meeting, Jaishankar also said Asia suffers from a “deficit of connectivity”, which is needed to promote economic and social activity.