India to Pakistan: Peace or peace talks, decide….

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A day after an international court stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer accused of spying, India signalled its wariness with Pakistan by stressing that asking for peace talks are an excuse for avoiding real peace and reflect a position that “may be hypocritical.”

“When anyone asks for peace talks, it does not necessarily mean that that country is asking for peace. And one has to measure that difference very carefully,” Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said in the Indian capital New Delhi after launching a pioneering journal on international affairs, entitled “India and World” on May 19.

“Do you want peace or do you want peace talks as an excuse for a position that may be hypocritical? And our reaction will be based on the larger assessment of what you mean,” said the minister, without naming Pakistan.

The minister’s remarks can be seen as a veiled critique of Pakistan’s equivocation in asking for a dialogue with India without addressing the core issue of cross-border terrorism and acquire an added significance in view of speculation about a meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Astana in June.

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Describing terrorism as the single most important threat to the world, the minister stressed that India will continue to fight and defeat terrorism and terrorists’ designs “to split pluralistic societies that have achieved internal cohesion and peace through suspicion and fear.” We have faced terrorism, we will fight terrorism and we will defeat terrorism,” said Mr Akbar.

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Published by India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and edited by Manish Chand, a well-known foreign affairs analyst and author of “Journeys Across Continents: A New India on the Global Stage,” India and World seeks to present India’s viewpoints on pressing international issues and debates amid shifting global equations and a mutating world order. The birth of a new publication on global affairs is a cause for celebrations at a time when India’s engagement with the world is steadily expanding, said Mr Akbar.

The launch of the magazine was followed by a panel discussion on the theme of Indian Diplomacy@2020- Power of India. The speakers included: Amb. Ashok Saajanhar, Amb. Jayant Prasad, Director-General, IDSA; Amb. Meera Shankar, India’s former ambassador to US & Germany; Prof. Chintamani Mahapatra, Rector, JNU; Ashok Malik, Distinguished Fellow, ORF; Jayadeva Ranade, President, Centre for China Analysis and Strategy; Sreeram Chaulia, author, The Modi Doctrine; Pranav Kumar, Head (International Trade), CII.

iw-mag-editor-speech“Amid a changing world order, there is a compelling need to present and understand India’s perspectives on major international issues and debates. India’s viewpoint is becoming increasingly important as it’s hard to envisage any lasting solution to an entire gamut of cross-cutting issues without proactive participation of the world’s most populous democracy, Asia’s third largest economy and an aspiring member of the UN Security Council,” said Manish Chand, editor-in-chief and publisher of the newly-launched magazine, India and World. “India’s positions are doubly important as they transcend the government of the day and dovetail with surging aspirations of over 1.2 billion people who are navigating their way to modernity and sustainable development.”