External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Saturday said that India will have to be uncompromising in combating the challenge of cross-border terrorism. Without naming Pakistan, he added that regionalism would only develop after the neighbouring country renounces terrorism as "state policy".
Delivering the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture, EAM said, "The challenge of cross-border terrorism, though, is one of a kind. We have to be uncompromising in combating it. If regionalism is to seriously develop, it would need not only a positive approach towards trade, connectivity and contacts but also an abjuring of terrorism as state policy." Jaishankar said that while engaging the different poles of an emerging global order, India will continue to give the utmost attention to its immediate neighbourhood.
"As an outlook, the Neighbourhood First policy remains generous and non-reciprocal in creating the basis for shared activities in different domains. The initial fruits of these endeavours are already in evidence, with projects taking off across South Asia in power, roads, rail, energy, etc," he added.
The minister further said that in recent times, India has also become more conscious of the extended neighbourhood. "This awareness has been propelled by a variety of economic, political, cultural and diaspora factors," he said.
"It has unfolded through an Act East policy that encapsulates the ASEAN and beyond. Our partnership with Australia underlines how far that has taken us. It is also expressed in the SAGAR outlook that provides a template to engage our maritime neighbours," he added.
Jaishankar further presented an example regarding India's increasing engagement in its extended neighbourhood. "And it is visible in a noticeable level of attention given now to Israel, the Gulf Kingdoms and Iran. Their aggregate impact has been to broaden the operational arena for Indian interests, while simultaneously drawing on a larger circle of resources and friendship."