Nation Current Affairs 14 Feb 2017 No talks possible wi ...

No talks possible with script in one hand, gun in the other: India to Pak

Published Feb 14, 2017, 9:08 am IST
Updated Feb 14, 2017, 9:09 am IST
The MoS External Affairs from India and Bangladesh discussed the importance of strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
MoS External Affairs, MJ Akbar. (Photo: File)
 MoS External Affairs, MJ Akbar. (Photo: File)

Mumbai: Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on Monday said that terrorism was the stumbling block between normalising ties with Pakistan.

"Everything is possible. What is impossible is a dialogue between those who like to hold a script in one hand and a gun in the other. That is not possible," he said.


"When people abandon the gun, nations and people will find a way forward to amity and coexistence," Akbar said, speaking at the second Gateway of India Geoeconomic Dialogue in Mumbai on Monday evening.

"Nobody talks under the shadow of a gun," he added.

Aimed at building synergy between business and foreign policy, the Ministry of External Affairs has, with Gateway House, co-hosted the two-day event which began on Monday.

Akbar also recalled that the Taj hotel, where the event is being organised, was a key site of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.


"We are sitting at a hotel which is a powerful part of the national and international memory. The hotel and its recovery and the fact that we are sitting here, is evidence of the power of recovery that India and Mumbai possess," Akbar said.

There can't be economic progress without peace, the minister said.

"Economic growth in itself is not enough. The poorest should be the first beneficiaries of economic growth. This is what the (Narendra) Modi government has been trying to achieve in the last over two years," Akbar said.


"Nationalism is not only xenophobia. Nationalism has some very powerful positive aspects to it," he said.

Akbar's counterpart from Bangladesh, Shahriar Alam, said as a student, he was an avid reader of the Sunday magazine, then edited by Akbar.

Alam spoke of the 'weakening' of Islamic State (IS), but cautioned against being complacent over this. "The weakening of IS is a political success. However, we also know that groups like Taliban have resurfaced, after it was said they were finished," he added.

Bangladesh hopes to join the league of developed nations by 2041, Alam said.


"Bangladesh has received the second largest chunk of FDI among South East Asian nations," he said.

After terrorists stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka in July last year, the Bangladesh government "got in touch with schools and colleges to check number of students absent from campus," he said.

Alam also lauded "Prime Minister Modi's slogan 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'", and said this could be a good benchmark for furthering Indo-Bangladesh ties.

Akbar and Alam discussed the importance of strong bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh and the comprehensive steps the two countries have taken together in the areas of investment, connectivity and the resolution of land and water disputes.


Both ministers agreed on terrorism being the biggest threat to the region's otherwise notable economic progress.

Akbar said even though South Asia has the fastest growing economies in the world, "we are not able to reap its benefits and live up to our true potential", as a result of the ongoing violence in the region.

"We need to address peace and security issues," he added, noting "nobody will talk under the shadow of guns, and those who do are showing weakness".

Overall the two leaders agreed for a sustained engagement for dialogue.


In another session later this evening, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad emphasised the importance of digitisation to facilitate efficient, corruption-free and secure system of governance in India.

He spoke of India's digital revolution and Digital India's stated objective to bridge the digital divide, noting "technology must be affordable, innovative and developmental for the deprived".

He said he supported further multilateralism in internet governance, hoping to see this develop more in the future. In his closing remarks, he stated his "vision to make India and Indians a digitally empowered society".