STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that by the time he visited the US after abrogation of Article 370 provisions, it was the “English-speaking liberal media” that posed a much more difficult challenge than others as it had “preset views” and did not present a “fair picture”. Jaishankar, while speaking at the US-India strategic partnership forum here, asserted that the change in Article 370 of the Constitution was India’s “internal business”. “This change is our internal business but obviously there was interest around the world because different people had views about it and our neighbours made a bit of a fuss about it,” he said.
India, China have good future togetherNew Delhi: India and China have not had an easy past but it is vital for both the countries to have a good future together, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, asserting that complicated bilateral issues were amenable to solutions.Referring to the recent informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram, Jaishankar said it is important that the leaders of the two countries have frank, open and candid conversations.“I think it is important that the two countries at the highest level have that kind of open discussions. If you can’t talk to each other freely, you are really not going to move in the right direction,” the external affairs minister said at an interaction organised by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.This bodes well for the relationship between the two countries, Jaishankar noted.Referring to the vexed issues between the two countries, Jaishankar said there have also been difficulties in the past.“As we both rise, you will have autonomous processes, each one of us will find new balances with the world but we will also find balances with each other and it won’t be a one-time determination. It will keep changing depending on how we fare,” he said.Land boundary issue is one of the contentious issues between India and China. The armies of the two countries were locked in a 73-day stand-off at Doklam in 2017.“I am not in denial of any of the very complicated issues in that relationship. I do feel each one of them is amenable to a solution, possibly a complex one but still amenable to a solution, and I would very much hope that the self interest of each country would lead them to a better relationship with the other,” Jaishankar said.The two countries are immediate neighbours with over a billion people each and India is on the path of becoming the number three economy after China, he said.All this weighs the scales in favour of sort of a modus vivendi between the two Asian giants, the minister said.“There is so much and overwhelming common sense case for good relations. I can’t imagine that if anybody frankly could make a credible case otherwise,” he said.
The minister said that after the move to do away with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, India prioritised engaging with the governments of different countries to make them understand what the change was about. “So, by the time I actually went to the US in September which was about six weeks after the event, we had made considerable progress. I think it was a much more difficult challenge with the media, especially the English-speaking liberal media because partly they were very ideological about it, they had strong preset views on this subject,” he said. “In my view…in many ways they did not present a fair picture. Maybe they did not absorb a fair picture either,” the External Affairs Minister said.
A lot of it was really about correcting cumulative impressions that one gets by being at the receiving end of the media coverage, Jaishankar said.
“I found a lot of people… were surprised at the information that the particular provision of the Constitution that was changed was a temporary provision because the media does not say that,” he said.
Jaishankar was in the US for over a week from later September to early October.
Article 370 narrowed the scope for business and raised the cost of business in Kashmir which meant that there was less development, Jaishankar said.
“A lot of these things, people were not reading in the press. A lot of them were hearing it for the first time…that was the sum total of my experience (in the US),” he said.
The Centre on August 5, after abrogating the state’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, bifurcated it into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which will come into being on October 31.
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