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‘Bad habits’, countries should not comment on others’ internal affairs: S Jaishankar

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Ahmedabad: In a stern warning to the international community on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar cautioned against unwarranted political commentary on India’s internal matters, stressing that any such interference would be met with a “very strong reply.” Jaishankar’s remarks came in the wake of recent statements by envoys from the US, Germany, and the United Nations regarding the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate. India has vehemently protested these statements.
“Somebody asked a person from the UN (about Kejriwal’s arrest), and he gave some reply. But in other cases, I would say very frankly these are old habits, these are bad habits,” Jaishankar told reporters here.
The Minister emphasised the importance of respecting the sovereignty of nations and refraining from meddling in each other’s domestic affairs.
“There is a certain ‘maryada’ (restraint) among countries. We are sovereign countries, we should not be interfering in each other’s internal affairs, we should not be passing comments about each other’s politics,” he added.
There are certain etiquettes, conventions and practices which must be followed in international relations, the minister said, adding that if a foreign country comments on India’s politics, “they will get a very strong reply from us, and that is what has happened.”
“…we sincerely urge all the countries in the world that by all means you have your views about the world, but no country has the right to comment on another country’s politics especially in situations like this,” Jaishankar said.
The External Affairs Ministry last week had summoned a senior American diplomat to protest against the US state department’s call for a fair legal process for the arrested Delhi chief minister. A similar protest was lodged with Germany.
The External Affairs ministry had issued a strong statement, saying that in diplomacy, countries are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. “This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents”.
During his interaction with the media here, Jaishankar also condemned China’s actions in renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh as “senseless,” reiterating that the northeastern state is an integral part of India.
In response to China’s release of a fourth list of new names for locations in Arunachal Pradesh, Jaishankar reaffirmed India’s unwavering stance on the region, emphasising that Arunachal Pradesh has always been and will remain an integral part of India.
“I want to be very clear that Arunachal Pradesh was, Arunachal Pradesh is, Arunachal Pradesh will always be India. I hope I am saying it so clearly that not only in the country but beyond the country also people get that message very very clearly,” he said. The MEA, earlier, averred in a statement that assigning invented names will not alter the reality that Arunachal Pradesh is, has been, and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.
The minister further criticised Congress leader P Chidambaram for his remarks on the Katchatheevu island issue, asserting that the facts must be acknowledged, regardless of political affiliations.
In a tweet on X earlier, Chidambaram said any “untruthful and belligerent” statement by the Indian government about the island will bring the Sri Lankan government and 35 lakh Tamils into confrontation. Jaishankar did a “somersault” on the issue, and once a liberal foreign service officer, he has become a mouthpiece of the RSS-BJP”, the Congress leader said.

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