'As If Partition Never Happened': S Jaishankar On Criticism Against CAA

EAM S Jaishankar explained that the Citizenship Amendment Act is supposed to address the issues that occurred as 'consequences' of the Partition of India.

EAM S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during an event on Saturday emphasized the 'context' of Partition of India behind CAA and other list of examples in countries around the world that became reasons for the fast-tracked implementation of the citizenship rules.

During an interaction at the India Today Conclave 2024 on Saturday, he faced questions about foreign countries including US of showing concern over the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

The US on Thursday said it is concerned about the notification of CAA in India and is closely monitoring its implementation.

"Look, I am not questioning the imperfections or otherwise of their democracy or their principles or lack of it. I am questioning their understanding of our history. If you hear comments from many parts of the world, it is as if the Partition of India never happened, there were no consequential problems which the CAA is supposed to address," Jaishankar said.

Historical context of CAA

S Jaishankar explained that taking a problem and "remove all the historical context from it, sanitise it and make it into a political correctness" argument, and say, 'I have principles and don't you have principles', "I have principles too, and one of them is obligation to people who were let down at the time of Partition. And, I think, the Home Minister spoke very eloquently on it yesterday."

Garcetti in response to a question on CAA during a panel discussion at the conclave on Friday, had said the principles of religious freedom and of equality under the law is a cornerstone of democracy.

"And, that is why we look at these things, it will be easier not to look at our friends. We invite you to do the same with our imperfect democracy, it is not a one-way street. But, you cannot give up on principles, no matter how close you are with friends...," he had said.

S Jaishankar cites 'number of examples' from across the world

Jaishankar while responding to the criticism on CAA, also cited a "number of examples" to make his point.

He expressed his concern about individuals who fail to critically examine their own policies, highlighting examples such as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which focused on Jews from the Soviet Union, as well as the Lautenberg Amendment, Specter Amendment, and the fast-tracked processing of Hungarians after the Hungarian revolution and Cubans in the 1960s.

"So, if you were to ask me, have other countries, other democracies, fast-tracked on the basis of ethnicity, faith, social attributes, I can give you any number of examples," the minister said.

He pointed out the background of the 1947 Partition, which divided the Indian subcontinent into two separate countries, India and Pakistan which caused extensive violence and forced many people to migrate across the border.

"Now, if I were to also say, after all why is the situation important, because very often when you have something very cataclysmic, something really very major, it is not possible to deal with all the consequences right then and there.

"The leadership of this country had promised to these minorties, that if you have a problem, you are welcome to come to India. The leadership thereafter didn't deliver on the promise," he added.

Jaishankar said it is "not just our predicament. If you look at Europe, many European countries fast-tracked citizenship of people who were left behind on the World War or in some cases much before the World War Some historical issues which were not addressed...I have a moral obligation to that community".

"So, the world is full of examples, and to me the context therefore is very important," the minister said.