India holds Pakistan responsible for strained Indo-Pak ties

India holds Pakistan responsible for strained Indo-Pak ties

NEW YORK: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday blamed Pakistan, without naming it, for the strained ties between India and Pakistan -- completely ignoring New Delhi's repeated refusals to engage in dialogue with Islamabad aimed at resolving all outstanding issues between the two countries,

Jaitley, who was speaking in the Council on Foreign Relations -- an American think tank -- claimed that India has made many efforts to improve the ties with Pakistan over the last few years but every time there was a negative reaction.

"Now, we have this unprovoked gesture of a military court sentencing an Indian to death through a kangaroo court process," Jaitley said, referring to the convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Such acts, he asserted, will not help the cause of peace in the region at all.

Jadhav, 46, was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and was awarded death sentence. Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa later confirmed the death sentence.

Diplomatic observers here said it was India who had undermined peace in

South Asia. By suspending the dialogue with Pakistan, the peace process had been put in cold storage.

"Rather than addressing what the Indian spy was doing, engaged as he was in activities to destabilize Pakistan, the Indian minister has tried to deflect attention from this and engaged in the usual obfuscation," an expert on South Asia remarked.

Jaitley, who was responding to a question, said, "As far as the region is concerned, if you look at Southeast Asia, and South Asia in particular, I think India's relationship with all our smaller neighbours has significantly improved.

And today, whether it's Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, we have an excellent relationship. We have been cooperating with them. We have been a part of their economic growth stories and so on. And I think we've made a conscious effort in that direction".

"Obviously, our problem comes from our western neighbour. And it's clear what's happening, that tensions do persist. And we do expect the international community, and particularly because most acts of terrorism across the world will have some footprint on the other as far as their neighbour is concerned. And if you've seen all our efforts over the last few years to normalize the relationship we've seen a reaction.

The prime minister (Narendra Modi) went there, and it was immediately followed up by an attack in Pathankot Air Base in India, then an attack on our Uri military camp..." (APP)