External Affairs Minister Jaishankar criticized Pakistan after Bilawal Bhutto accused India of violating international law

Jaishankar and Bhutto at SCO Summit 2023 Goa

The recent visit of the Pakistani Foreign Minister to India to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit was a historic moment, as no Pakistani foreign minister had visited India in over a decade. However, this one step forward was quickly followed by two steps back, as India made it clear that there is no shift in its position towards Pakistan, and the relations between the two countries, which have been at a low, will continue to be frozen.

During a media interaction after the summit, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar stated that "India is not trying to score diplomatic points by bringing up terrorism. We are diplomatically and politically exposing Pakistan to the rest of the world. As a victim of terrorism, India is completely justified in doing this. We are not going to put up with terrorism."

While India and Pakistan took swipes at each other, without naming each other during the summit, at the individual press interactions, the gloves came off. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari raised the issue of Kashmir during his press conference with the Pakistani media, which he could not do on the floor of the SCO summit where bilateral issues cannot be raised. With elections upcoming and under huge pressure for choosing to come to India, Bhutto had to tick the box. However, Jaishankar, who held his press conference after Bhutto, made it clear that "there is only one issue to discuss on Kashmir, which is when will Pakistan vacate its illegal occupation of PoK. That is the only issue up for discussion."

In the history of India-Pakistan relations, the media interaction at the end of a summit has always set the agenda. Jaishankar chose to use the platform, where Pakistani journalists were also present, to come out strongly and make it clear that "new" India was quite comfortable with no engagement. "A country that does terrorism cannot talk about peace in the same breath. Pakistan has no credibility; it can say anything. Terrorism cannot be destiny."
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