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Blinken lauds Indian election, Jaishankar flays Pak on terror fight

WebdeskJul 29, 2021, 08:10 AM IST

Blinken lauds Indian election, Jaishankar flays Pak on terror fight

Nirendra Dev

  

Speaking in the presence of visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after their bilateral talks, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar directed his ire on Pakistan for its failure to fight terrorism in all its sincerity.

 

New Delhi: The United States on Wednesday (July 28) applauded Indian democracy and the ‘free thinking citizens’ and ‘remarkable’ elections process.

 

Speaking in the presence of visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after their bilateral talks, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar directed his ire on Pakistan for its failure to fight terrorism in all its sincerity.

 

“...The most remarkable democratic election in the world, in many ways, is here in India,” Blinken said in response to a question at the press conference.

 

He said by ‘sheer numbers’, the Indian election is unique, and it’s the “largest” exercise by the citizens “anywhere on earth.”

 

The US Secretary of State said democracy is never at a perfect stage anywhere on the globe.

 

“Our entire quest is to get closer and closer to the ideals we (democracies) set for ourselves. That’s how societies make progress,” he said, however adding the ‘challenges’ to democracies could be “painful”.

 

In democracies, the ‘mechanisms’ work well and ensure the co-existence of different faiths, free media, independent courts “powered by a system of free and fair elections.”

 

To a question, External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar said, because of its greater involvement in Afghanistan, when the US withdraws, there will be “consequences”.

 

“It is the policy to deal with what we have....,” he said, adding the conversation between him and Blinken during the latter’s two-day visit has tried to dwell on these situations.

 

“Like his US counterpart, he emphasised that a military solution is no panacea to the problems in Afghanistan. “It is not that the outcome should be decided by force on the battlefield.... And Peace Negotiations should lead to peace. It should see a cessation of violence.”  

 

 

Dr Jaishankar maintained a “broad and deep consensus” that most of the neighbours of Afghanistan “agree with that.”

 

At this point, naming no country, Dr Jaishankar, a career diplomat, remarked acidly: “I grant you not everybody who agrees, does what they say. I noted the exception which you pointed out. But that is a reality.... that’s the reality of the last 20 years.”

 

On issues concerning democracy, the visiting US top official also said, “Our shared values and democratic traditions were part of our conversation. The relationship is so strong because it is a relationship between two democracies.

 

Americans admire Indians’ commitment to rights, democracy and pluralism. Indian democracy is powered by its freethinking citizens. I approach this with humility. (There are challenges too)."

 

"The search is for a more perfect union which means we are not perfect," he said.

 

Sources said human rights also figured prominently in bilateral talks.

 

The US State Department and Dean Thompson, Assistant Secretary of State, had announced a few days ago that Blinken would raise these issues during his visit.

 

Indian government's issues with microblogging giant Twitter has been making news across the globe.

 

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