Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar again fortified his reputation as a man who does not mince his words, when he gave Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari a stinging rebuke today at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Goa.
Jaishankar called Bhutto Zardari a “promoter, justifier and spokesperson” of “a terrorism industry, which is the mainstay of Pakistan”, as five Indian soldiers were killed in Jammu & Kashmir in a terror attack today, while the Pakistani minister talked of sitting together and tackling terrorism.
“Victims of terrorism do not sit together with perpetrators of terrorism…. Victims of terrorism defend themselves, counter acts of terrorism, they call it out, they deligitimise it, and that is exactly what is happening,” said Jaishankar, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers’ summit.
Jaishankar said in the same media address that “…on this matter, the terrorism matter, I would say that Pakistan’s credibility is depleting even faster than its forex reserves”.
The whole day today, social networks have been abuzz with how Jaishankar appeared to give the cold shoulder to Bhutto Zardari during the ceremony of greeting the visiting ministers one by one, while being filmed and photographed. The images showed that with all the others, both Jaishankar and the visiting minister did a “Namaste” gesture and looked warmly into the camera. When Bilawal Bhutto Zardari came and stood next to Dr S Jaishankar for the photo-op, the latter sternly looked straight ahead, hands clasped in front of him.
A couple of moments later, he formally gestured at the visiting minister to proceed further towards the summit. Bhutto Zardari touched his chest in a gesture of acknowledgement and moved on.
This difference in body language has grabbed the attention of the whole country today. Just how infuriated Jaishankar was became clear from his statement on terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. It is no coincidence that he said it on the same day when five Indian soldiers were killed and many were wounded in an explosion in the Rajouri district of Jammu & Kashmir.
Bhutto Zardari had addressed the media during the summit and said that Pakistan itself was hit by terrorism. Jaishankar was having none of it. “To come here, and preach these hypocritical words as though we are in the same boat… I mean, they are committing acts of terrorism,” he said. “I don’t want to jump the gun on what happened today, but I think we’re all feeling equally outraged.”