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External Affairs Minister Jaishankar speaks: Pakistan continues to face terrorism, it is very difficult to normalize relations with them

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New York: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today said the Pakistan government has been publicly considering terrorism as a policy that it justifies. That is why it is very difficult for India to normalize relations with Pakistan, he added.

Addressing an online function organised by the Asia Society, Jaishankar said, “Terrorism from Pakistan continues to be a policy publicly accepted by his government which he is justifying. So it’s very difficult to normalize the relationship with them,” he said.

Jaishankar said that it is not only terrorism, but Pakistan does not do normal business with India and has not given New Delhi the status of the Most Favored Nation (MFN).

“We don’t have normal visa relations and they are very restrictive in this case,” he said. They have disrupted connectivity between India and Afghanistan and from Afghanistan to India,” he said.

Jaishankar said that normal neighbours have visa and business relations, they provide you connectivity and most importantly, they do not promote terrorism.

“And I believe that unless we address this problem, how to have a normal relationship with this very peculiar neighbour is a big problem for our foreign policy,” he said.

On the question of Kashmir developments since partition last year, Jaishankar said that the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir has now been divided into two Union Territories.

“India’s external borders have not changed. As for our neighbouring countries, we say for them that this is an internal subject for us. Every country has the right to change its administrative jurisdiction. Countries like China have also changed the boundaries of their provinces and I am sure many other countries do so,” he said.

“Neighbours are affected only when your external boundaries change,” he said. It’s not like that in this case.”

Relations between India and Pakistan were strained following the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station in 2016 by Pakistan terror groups. The attacks on the Indian Army camp in URI, including the attack, further worsened the relationship.

India’s warplanes destroyed a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp within Pakistan on February 26 last year in response to the Pulwama terror attack.

Last year, there was a strong response from Pakistan on the abolition of jammu and kashmir’s special status provisions and the distribution of the state into two Union Territories and has been trying unsuccessfully to garner international support against India on the Kashmir issue.