In a meeting of foreign ministers from member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar accused his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of being a “promoter, justifier and spokesperson of a terrorism industry.” He stated that “victims of terrorism do not sit together with its perpetrators to discuss terrorism” and that the two foreign ministers did not hold a bilateral at the SCO meeting.
Mr Jaishankar further commented that “on terrorism, Pakistan’s credibility is depleting even faster than its forex reserves” in reference to Pakistan’s ongoing financial crisis that has forced it to seek loans from other countries. This statement comes after five Indian Army soldiers were killed in action during an operation to find terrorists hiding in a forest near Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, suspected to be Pakistanis.
Despite Mr Zardari being the first Pakistani Foreign Minister to visit India in nearly 12 years, Mr Jaishankar played down his visit, stating that “Bhutto Zardari came as Foreign Minister of an SCO member state; that’s part of multilateral diplomacy, and we don’t see anything more than that.”
During the meeting, Mr Jaishankar called for united efforts to fight terrorism and cautioned against letting “anybody – individual or state – hide behind non-state actors.” He warned that ignoring the issue of terrorism would be detrimental to the security interests of the SCO.