“Just as the Pandavas could not choose their kin…”: S. Jaishankar in Pakistan

"Just as the Pandavas could not choose their kin...": S. Jaishankar in Pakistan
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'As the Pandavas could not choose their kin...': Pak-A S Jaishankar

S Jaishankar also said that the Indus Water Treaty is a technical matter. (file)


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that just as the Pandavas could not choose their kin, India also cannot choose its geographical neighbours.

“It is a reality for us… Pandavas could not choose relatives, we cannot choose our neighbours. Naturally, we hope good sense will prevail,” said EAM S Jaishankar when asked, “A neighboring and rogue nation (Pakistan ), who would be nuclear power, would be an asset or a liability.”

S Jaishankar was in Pune for the release of his English book “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”, translated into Marathi as ‘Bharat Marg’.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis released the Marathi version of S Jaishankar’s book.

Asked about the economic situation in Pakistan, S Jaishankar said he could not comment on what was happening in Pakistan.

The World Bank has cut Pakistan’s economic growth in half — from 4 percent to 2 percent for the current fiscal year, as Islamabad faces growing economic problems, The News International reported.

“Nevertheless, Pakistan faces growing economic problems and Sri Lanka remains in crisis. In all regions, improvement in living standards in the half decade to 2024 is expected to be slower than in 2010-19,” read the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects. Report

Pakistan’s economic situation is precarious due to low foreign exchange reserves and large revenue and current account deficits which have been worsened by severe floods.

About one-third of the country’s land area has been damaged, infrastructure has been damaged and about 15 percent of the population has been directly affected, The News International reported.

Moreover, with low foreign exchange reserves and rising sovereign risk, Pakistan devalued its currency by 14 percent between June and December and its country risk premium increased by 15 percentage points during the same period.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has agreed to meet all conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the preliminary summary of the next review.

Shehbaz Sharif said on January 24 that Pakistan’s ruling PDM alliance was ready to sacrifice “his political career in the interest of the country” by accepting the IMF’s “tough” conditions for reviving the loan program.

Reports reveal that more than 9,000 containers are stuck at various seaports in Pakistan, threatening to disrupt the supply chain of essential goods. Inflation in the country has risen to around 30 percent. The country’s funds are running low and food prices are rising.

According to Islam Khabar, importers are unable to clear containers due to a shortage of dollars, while shipping companies are threatening to suspend operations in Pakistan over the country’s failure to pay on time. This will have a negative impact on both import and export.

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves are only USD 4.4 billion, barely enough for three weeks of imports, while estimated containers need to be cleared and pending requests to open more letters of credit are at USD 1.5 billion. 2 billion US dollars, according to Islam Khabar reports.

There is a risk of business closures in Pakistan due to supply chain breakdowns as domestically manufactured products depend on imported raw materials. Pakistan’s textile industry is also in a critical position as it is losing credibility and market share among international buyers.

The country’s hospitals are running out of medicine and there could soon be shortages of commodities like wheat, fertilizer and petrol.

Prime Minister Sharif thus asked people to conserve resources such as water, gas and electricity to help the government reduce its import bill, which has risen significantly in recent years.

S Jaishankar also said that the Indus Water Treaty was a technical matter and future steps would depend on negotiations between the Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan.

“It is a technical matter, the Indus commissioners of both countries will talk about the Indus water agreement. We can discuss our future course of action after that,” he said.

India issued notice to Pakistan to revise the September 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) after Islamabad’s actions adversely affected the treaty’s provisions.

The notice was communicated on January 25 through the Commissioners concerned for Indus Waters as per Section XII (3) of the IWT.

The purpose of the notice for modification is to provide Pakistan with 90 days to enter into intergovernmental negotiations to correct material violations of the IWT. This process will update the IWT to incorporate lessons learned over the past 62 years.

India has always been a responsible partner in the implementation of the IWT. Pakistan’s actions, however, violated the provisions of the IWT and their implementation and compelled India to issue an appropriate notice for modification of the IWT.

Highlighting the sea-change in India’s foreign policy, S Jaishankar says the country’s influence reaches beyond the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking at the release of the book “Bharat Marg” written by S Jaishankar, he said, “Nowadays India’s influence reaches beyond the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, that’s why I talk about history, big countries always think only about themselves. It’s a deficiency in their DNA.”

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)

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