Thursday, September 28, 2023

‘Snakes in your backyard’: Jaishankar recalls Hillary Clinton’s remark on Pakistan

"Not An Era Of War"

UNITED NATIONS, December 16: After his “a country that hosted slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and attacked a neighbouring Parliament” remark, external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday again ripped into Pakistan for its role in sponsoring and spreading terrorism across the globe.
“The world sees Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism and Islamabad should clean up its act and try to be a good neighbour,” Jaishankar said.
Replying to a question from a Pakistani journalist, who accused India of spreading terrorism, Jaishankar replied,” You are asking the wrong minister when you say how long will we do this. It is the ministers of Pakistan, who will tell how long Pakistan intends to practice terrorism.” “The world isn’t stupid and it is not forgetful,” he said.
“I saw, I read the reports on what minister Khar said. And I was reminded, more than a decade ago, my memory serves me right. Hillary Clinton was visiting Pakistan. And Hina Rabbani Khar was a minister at that time. Standing next to her, Hillary Clinton actually said that if you have… snakes in your backyard, you can’t expect them to bite only your neighbours. Eventually, they will bite the people who keep them in the backyard. But as you know, Pakistan is not great on taking good advice. You see what’s happening there,” Jaishankar recalled.
Jaishankar was addressing reporters at the UN headquarters after chairing a signature event held under India’s presidency of the Council on ‘Global Counterterrorism Approach: Challenges and Way Forward.’
During her visit to Islamabad in October 2011, Clinton had addressed the media with Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister Khar and said, “It’s like that old story – you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.”
Jaishankar said, “…the world today sees them (Pakistan) as the epicentre of terrorism. Now I know we’ve been through two-and-a-half years of Covid and a lot of us have brain fog as a result. But I assure you the world has not forgotten where does terrorism (emanate), who has their fingerprints over a lot of activities in the region and beyond the region.”
“So I would say that it’s something which they should remind themselves before indulging in the kind of fantasies which they do,” he added.
By taking that debate elsewhere, you are not going to hide it. You’re not going to confuse anybody anymore. People have figured it out. So, my advice is please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour. Please try and contribute to what the rest of the world is trying to do today, which is economic growth, progress, development,” Jaishankar said. “I hope through your channel that message goes.”
In response to a question on concerns over Taliban in Afghanistan supporting terror groups like al-Qaida, Jaishankar said after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August last year, the Security Council had expressed concerns of the international community in regards to Afghanistan as a whole through a resolution.
“I think that remains very much the sentiment and outlook of the international community. One of the key expectations there is that Afghanistan will not again serve as a base for terrorism against other countries, and we expect whoever has authority in Afghanistan to respect and honour that,” he said.
The Security Council, in its resolution 2593 (2021) that was adopted under India’s August 2021 presidency of the Council, had said that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorism, to threaten or attack any country, to shelter or train terrorists or to plan or finance terrorist acts.
Jaishankar arrived in US on Tuesday to preside over two signature events on counter-terrorism and reformed multilateralism being held under India’s current Presidency of the UN Security Council, before the curtains come down this month on the country’s two-year tenure as an elected member of the powerful 15-nation. (Agencies)