In strong criticism of Pakistan, he said almost all major iniatiatives of India in SAARC -- be it enhancing connectivity or having deeper engagement in some other key areas -- did not fructify due to hurdles posed by Islamabad, adding terrorism is central to the problem.

The Foreign Secretary described Pakistan as a country which not only has a "different view of the region but also has an atttitude towards use of terrorism as a instrument of policy of diplomacy which makes it a difficult partner for all of us."

The Foreign Secretary was interacting with journalists at Foreign Correspondents' Club here during which he touched upon a wide range of issues including challenges on foreign policy front and India's engagement with major powers like US, Russia and China.
Talking about government's neighbourhood first policy, he said though India has been sincere in ensuring development of the region, its politics often come into play.

"While we all agree that we should move forward, it does not always go smoothly as domestic politics of our neighbours pose challenges. We have learnt to be patient and the mix of diplomacy and patience did see through difficult situations," said Jaishankar.
"The neighbourhood clearly faces unique challenge with respect of one country which is Pakistan," he said, adding the centrality of the problem is "terrorism". Referring to Indo-Pak ties, he said India made every effort in the last two years to improve relationship with Pakistan.

"What you have seen in the last two years is a great effort on our part to reach out to Pakistan and find common ground on many issues that face the relationship. "The last time this was done in December when the Foreign Minister went for the Heart of Asia conference and we agreed to have comprehensive bilateral dialogue which we hoped would begin in January this year," he said, adding then Pathankot terror attack took place.

He said the problem is that the "terrorism issue has become so central that it makes it very difficult for the relationship as a whole to progress". The Foreign Secrtary also talked about lack of progress in Pathankot terror attack probe and continuous cross-border infiltrations and attacks.

 

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