External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said India's decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status has a "national security connotation" as he emphasised that the "epicentre of global terrorism" is right there in the country's "neighbourhood".
Delivering a speech on 'India and the World - Priorities of Indian Foreign Policy' at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), Mr Jaishankar, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, said, "India lives in a tough neighbourhood and faces more than its fair share of national security challenges. Most prominent among them is the cross-border terrorism that we have been subjected to for many decades."
He said cross-border terrorism has cost more than 40,000 lives in the last three decades.
Mr Jaishankar said India is opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and believe there is no justification for it, whatsoever.
"But it is not just enough to have a position. When subjected to terrorist attacks, any polity that is sincerely committed to the welfare of its people will surely respond. And indeed, that is precisely what we have done in recent years," he said.
"Even the changes that were approved last month by the Indian Parliament in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, while driven by the needs of governance and development, have a national security connotation," Mr Jaishankar said.
The Modi government on August 5 revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.
Reacting to India's move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter". New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.
Mr Jaishankar said, "We know that the epicentre of global terrorism is there right in our neighbourhood. But even as we take our responsive measures, our belief is that this is not just a concern for one country but for the entire international community."
"Sadly, past neglect has come to haunt many distant regions of the world. It is, therefore, vital that various aspects of this challenge - including radicalisation, financing and state-sponsorship - are addressed by all of us together. Only then will we make progress," he said.
Finland is the current European Union chair.
During a special debate of the plenary of the European Parliament on the situation in Kashmir on Tuesday, European parliamentarians Ryszard Czarnecki and Fulvio Martusciello have slammed Pakistan for harbouring terrorists.
Mr Czarnecki, the member of EU Parliament and European Conservatives and Reformists Group in Poland called India the "greatest democracy of the world" and said terrorists who carried out attacks in India did not come from the Moon.
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