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States exporting terror attempting to paint themselves as its victims: Jaishankar

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar delivered a stinging comeback to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his attacks on the government’s handling of foreign relations (AP)

New Delhi, August 28: In a clear reference to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said states that have turned the “production” of terrorists into a “primary export” have attempted to paint themselves as victims of terror as he pitched for global mechanisms to dismantle the structures supporting terrorism.
Without naming Pakistan, Jaishankar said international pressure has eventually compelled a state complicit in “aiding, abetting, training and directing” terror groups and associated criminal syndicates to “grudgingly acknowledge” the presence of wanted terrorists and organised crime leaders on its territory.
Last week, Pakistan came out with a ‘Statutory Regulatory Order’ (SRO) mentioning names of around 80 terrorists including Dawood Ibrahim, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, ostensibly to escape blacklisting of the country by anti-terror watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In his remarks at the 19th Darbari Seth memorial lecture organised by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Jaishankar also identified use of passenger aircraft as weapons of mass destruction in the ‘9/11’ terror attack and “lethally contagious” coronavirus as “stand-out moments” that disrupted the trajectory of human society.
“All the while, states that have turned the production of terrorists into a primary export have attempted, by dint of bland denials, to paint themselves as victims of terror,” he said.
At the same time, Jaishankar said sustained pressure through international mechanisms to prevent the movement of funds for terror groups and their front agencies can work, which he said was seen last week.
“It has eventually compelled a state complicit in aiding, abetting, training and directing terror groups and associated criminal syndicates to grudgingly acknowledge the presence of wanted terrorists and organised crime leaders on its territory,” Jaishankar said.
He said the struggle against terror and those who aid and abet it is a work in progress.
The external affairs minister also touched upon a plethora of issues including India’s global outlook, essence of a self-reliance (Atmanirbharta), and multilateralism.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres delivered the main lecture.
“Livelihood and innovation should not be sacrificed at the altar of political fashion and commercial convenience. Believe me, our country has enough cards to play if we have the confidence to play them,” he said, talking about economic issues and highlighting the government’s focus on self-reliance.
On challenge of terrorism, the external affairs minister said it is a cancer that potentially affects everyone, just as pandemics potentially impact upon all humanity.
“And yet, in both cases, globalised focused responses to either challenge have tended to emerge only when there has been sufficient disruption created by a ‘spectacular’ event,” he said.
The external affairs minister mentioned about the ‘9/11′ terror attacks as well as the ’26/11’ Mumbai strike and said a range of mechanisms like the FATF have been put in place but rued that the world still “lacks a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”.
“It remains for the international system to create necessary mechanisms to shut down structures that support and enable terrorism, whether in South Asia or across the globe,” he said.
Jaishankar said handling true challenges like terrorism, pandemics and climate change will really test the seriousness of multilateralism.
“Unfortunately, there are some who persuade themselves that they can draw the benefits while leaving the risks, threats, and challenges for others to deal with,” he said, without naming any country.
“This is predicated upon a false confidence that such problems can be localised in some regions of the planet, while others stay free from such contagion. As we have seen, this is not possible,” Jaishankar said.
He further said: “If it took a heinous attack using passenger aircraft as weapons of mass destruction to underscore the age of terror, it has similarly taken a lethally contagious virus to trigger a pandemic that has brought the world to its knees.”
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, he said the monitoring systems in the past have managed to head off a crisis in time. “This time, however, the international warning systems, reporting protocols and response mechanisms were unable to prevent the spread beyond ground zero.”
Talking about India’s global approach, he said it is important to emphasis that the country remains global in its outlook, even more so now after the pandemic.
“This has been demonstrated repeatedly, whether it is in our medical assistance to 150 nations or humanitarian relief to those societies in distress. The current times, however, do provide an occasion to review the nature and terms of our external engagement,” he said.
Jaishankar noted that economically, arrangements based on template of others, have naturally not worked in India’s favour.
“…the time is also ripe for us to revisit the very concept of globalisation. We have allowed it to be defined by interests of a few, who visualise that process largely in financial, trade and travel terms,” he said.
Jaishankar said the pandemic has helped in refocusing on the existing international system.
“It is, in that sense, a unique moment for serious reflection on the state of the world order to which we have become accustomed. India enters the UN Security Council as an elected member in 2021, and joins the Troika of the G20 at almost the same time,” he said.
He further said: “An India that is weighing the balance between economic revival and global engagement would do well to recall Mahatma Gandhi’s words: humankind is as much self-dependent as interdependent. I thank you for your attention.” (PTI)