‘Brand Pakistan’ synonymous with terror: Jaitley

Washington, Oct 7 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said Pakistan was linked to “every terrorist incident” in the world and India successfully exposed Islamabad’s double-talk on terror — using it as an instrument of foreign policy and also playing its victim.

In an interview with NDTV news channel, Jaitley, who is in Washington to attend International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings, said India’s diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan had born fruits with Islamabad left alone today in the South Asian region.

“The fact that almost everybody said that we won’t attend the Saarc Summit speaks of the isolation in the region,” Jaitley said.

“Ultimately, if you use terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and every terrorist incident – a major terrorist incident anywhere in the world has Pakistani footprint around it, then ‘Brand Pakistan’ really identifies itself with global terror.”

The hard-hitting remarks from the minister came as India and Pakistan are locked in an unprecedented diplomatic acrimony and boiling border tension after the September 18 terror attack on a military base in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 19 soldiers.

India said the attackers had come from Pakistan and belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit. Days later, India carried out surgical strikes and destroyed terror launch pads and killed an unspecified number of terrorists in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Jaitley said Pakistan was playing terror victimhood to hoodwink the world but could no longer do that because its credibility had taken a hit after India exposed Islamabad’s doublespeak over terrorism.

“All contrarian noises that they make that Pakistan is a victim et cetera, clearly, has established that the world is not willing to listen to them because of a very low credibility and a low track record as far as these matters are concerned,” he said.

Jaitley ruled out any possibility of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes escalating tensions with Pakistan.

“I don’t think we should overstate the problem. The two countries are nuclear powers and nuclear blackmail in the world is Pakistan’s strategy. It’s never been an Indian strategy.”

He said the cross-Line of Control (LoC) operation represented a strategic shift in Indian counter-terrorism fight.

“India used to take conventional steps earlier… Our government has taken a serious step forward which is different from earlier governments.”

He said it was an “army strategy” and “pre-emptive strike against terrorism” and all opposition leaders were briefed and a consensus was built because India was “entitled to strategise” following the Uri attack and the January Pathankot terror strike – also blamed on the Jaish.

–IANS

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