quotJust as Pandavas could not choose their kinquotS Jaishankar on

"Just as Pandavas could not choose their kin…":S Jaishankar on Pak

'Just as Pandavas could not choose their kin...' :S Jaishankar On Pak

S Jaishankar also said that the Indus Water Treaty is a technical matter. (File)


Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said Saturday that just as the Pandavas cannot choose their kin, India cannot choose its geographical neighbors.

“For us it’s a reality… Pandavas couldn’t choose our relatives, we can’t choose our neighbors. Nuclear power is going to be an asset or a liability.”

S. Jaishankar was in Pune for the publication of his English book The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World, translated into Marathi as Bharat Marg.

The Marathi version of S Jaishankar’s book was published by Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.

When asked about the economic situation in Pakistan, S. Jaishankar said he could not comment on what was happening in Pakistan.

The World Bank has slashed Pakistan’s economic growth by half – from 4 percent to 2 percent for the current fiscal year, and says Islamabad is facing mounting economic difficulties, The News International reported.

“Nevertheless, Pakistan faces growing economic difficulties and Sri Lanka remains in crisis. In all regions, living standards are expected to improve at a slower pace over the half decade to 2024 than from 2010 to 2019,” according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects assessment report.

Pakistan’s economic situation is precarious with low foreign exchange reserves and large budget and current account deficits, made worse by severe flooding.

About a third of the country’s land area was affected, damaging infrastructure and directly affecting about 15 percent of the population, The News International reported.

Amidst low foreign exchange reserves and rising sovereign risks, Pakistan lost 14 percent of its currency between June and December and its sovereign risk premium increased by 15 percentage points over the same period.

Amidst this Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the government has agreed to meet all International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions for the next review to resume soon.

Shehbaz Sharif said on January 24 that Pakistan’s ruling PDM alliance was ready to sacrifice its “political career for the good of the country” by accepting the IMF’s “tough” conditions to revive the loan program.

Reports show that over 9,000 containers are stranded at various Pakistani seaports, threatening to disrupt supply chains for essential goods. Inflation in the country has risen to almost 30 percent. The country’s funds are running out and food prices are rising.

According to Islam Khabar, importers are unable to clear containers due to dollar shortages, while shipping companies are threatening to halt Pakistan’s operations because the country fails to make payments on time. This will negatively affect both imports and exports.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has just US$4.4 billion in foreign exchange reserves, barely enough for three weeks of imports, while the estimated need to clear containers and pending applications for further letters of credit is US$1.5 billion is USD 2 billion according to the Islam Khabar report.

Businesses in Pakistan are at risk of being shut down due to a collapse in supply chains as domestically manufactured goods rely on imported raw materials. The textile industry in Pakistan is also in a critical position as it loses credibility and market share with international buyers.

The country’s hospitals are running out of medicines, and shortages of commodities such as wheat, fertilizers and gasoline could soon arise.

Prime Minister Sharif has therefore urged people to conserve resources such as water, gas and electricity to help the government reduce its import bill, which has increased significantly in recent years.

S Jaishankar also said that the Indus Water Treaty is a technical matter and the future course of action will depend on talks between the Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan.

“This is a technical matter, Indus commissioners of both countries will talk about the Indus water treaty. We can only discuss our future steps afterwards,” he said.

India issued a September 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) Amendment Notice to Pakistan after Islamabad’s actions compromised the terms of the treaty.

The notification was sent on January 25 by the respective commissioners for Indus waters in accordance with Article XII (3) of the IWT.

The purpose of the amendment notification is to give Pakistan an opportunity to enter into intergovernmental negotiations within 90 days to resolve the substantial violation of inland navigation. This process would also update inland navigation to include the experiences of the past 62 years.

India has always been a responsible partner in implementing inland shipping. However, Pakistan’s actions have interfered with the Inland Waterway Regulations and their implementation, forcing India to issue a related Inland Waterway Amendment Notice.

S. Jaishankar highlighted the fundamental shift in India’s foreign policy, saying that the country’s influence stretches beyond the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

At the launch ceremony of the book “Bharat Marg” written by S. Jaishankar, he said: “Nowadays, India’s influence reaches beyond the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, that’s why I’m talking about history, big countries always think only of themselves, that is a defect in their DNA.”

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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