EAM Jaishankar asked Bhutto not to make terrorism a ‘weapon’, stressed on CPEC in SCO

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s remarks on Friday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’ summit, where he asked nations not to ‘weaponise’ terrorism, drew a strong response from Union External Affairs Ministry S Jaishankar.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said the issue of terrorism should not be raised for ‘diplomatic point-scoring’ while addressing SCO delegations. “The collective security of our people is our joint responsibility. Terrorism remains a threat to global security. Let us not fall into the trap of weaponizing terrorism for diplomatic gains.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar indirectly responded to the comments in a tweet where, while highlighting the outcomes of the summit, he said that terrorism can have no justification and must be stopped in all forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism. Needed “(d) The threat of terrorism continues unabated and it would be detrimental to our security interests to lose sight of it.

Reiterated that there can be no justification for terrorism and it must be stopped in all its forms and manifestations including cross border terrorism. We should not allow any individual or state to hide behind non-state actors, Jaishankar said in a tweet. It should be noted that Bilawal’s remarks came soon after Jaishankar urged that all forms of cross-border terrorism should be stopped.

Bilawal also tried to push the agenda of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) being held in Goa. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor can likewise be a force multiplier for regional connectivity. CPEC not only connects Pakistan with its neighbor China. CPEC offers all countries investing in the future commonality of the region the journey forward and connecting the dots towards full regional economic integration.

Jaishankar responded by saying that connectivity projects must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states, without directly referring to the CPEC agenda that Bilawal Bhutto tried to sell at the SCO-CFM. “Underlining that connectivity is the key to progress, it must come with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states,” the External Affairs Minister said.