- S Jaishankar said he hasn't read Imran Khan's New York Times article
- He said India won't negotiate with Pakistan so long as it supports terror
- Kashmir clampdown was necessary to prevent a terror backlash, he added
Asked about an article authored by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the "impending threat" of nuclear war over Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's response emerged in seven short words and a decidedly calm tone. "Didn't have the time to read it," he said in an interview with Politico magazine in Brussels recently.
During the interview, Mr Jaishankar ruled out any possibility of relaunching bilateral talks with Pakistan -- as suggested by Imran Khan -- so long as the neighbouring country changes its ways. "Terrorism is not something that's being conducted in the dark corners of Pakistan. It's done in broad daylight," he said, adding that there was no question of New Delhi and Islamabad approaching the negotiating table until the latter stops financing and recruiting terrorist groups.
An op-ed article that appeared in The New York Times had Imran Khan terming the Narendra Modi government's decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status last month as an "assault on Kashmir and its people". He also claimed that a military escalation between the nuclear powers was imminent unless global powers intervene in the matter.
In his interview with Politico, Mr Jaishankar maintained that the communications blockade in Kashmir was necessary to stop the activation of "terrorist assets" even if it meant inconveniencing the people to some extent. "How do I cut off communications between terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the Internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know," he said.
However, the External Affairs Minister expressed confidence that security restrictions across the region would be eased in the "coming days". This would involve the redeployment of police to their original duties and a reduction in the number of additional security forces across Kashmir, he said, adding: "Frankly, they have other jobs and other things to do."
Mr Jaishankar also denied Imran Khan's claim that there was a Hindu nationalist agenda behind scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status. "The kind of people who say this are people who don't know India," he said. "Does this sound like the culture of India?"
He also dismissed suggestions that the BJP government could try and strip the powers of other states in the country, saying that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was "unique".
During his visit to Brussels, Mr Jaishankar met European Parliament president David Sassoli and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. According to news agency PTI, Ms Mogherini reportedly urged for resumption of India-Pakistan talks and stressed on the need to "restore the rights and freedoms of the Kashmir population".
(With inputs from Agencies)