Jaishankar evokes Hillary Clinton’s ‘snake in the backyard’ analogy to slam Pakistan

In a sharp response that stunned Pakistani diplomatic quarters from New York to Islamabad, India’s Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar evoked former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s ‘snakes in the backyard’ analogy to point out that the world sees Pakistan as “epicentre” of terrorism.

Jaishankar made the remarks while addressing journalists at the UN Security Council’s sidelines after presiding over the council’s signature event, ‘Global Counterterrorism Approach: Challenges and Way Forward’. 

At a joint news conference in 2011 with the then Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Hillary Clinton had said: “You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours,” referring to Pakistan’s undeclared policy of harbouring and exporting terrorism to neighbouring India. 

Jaishankar was responding to a question in New York on Thursday on Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar’s recent allegation that “no country had used terrorism better than India”.

“I read the reports on what minister Hina Rabbani Khar said. And I was reminded, more than a decade ago, if my memory serves me right. Hillary Clinton was visiting Pakistan. And Hina Rabbani Khar was a minister at that time,” Jaishankar said while responding to a question on Khar’s recent statements about a dossier against India.

“Standing next to her, Hillary Clinton actually said that if you have snakes in your backyard, you can’t expect them to bite only your neighbours. Eventually, they will bite the people who keep them in the backyard. But as you know, Pakistan is not great at taking good advice. You see what’s happening there,” he said.

The world is not stupid: Jaishankar on state sponsors of terror

Jaishankar, while underlining that the world is not “stupid” to not understand Pakistan’s policy of state-sponsored terrorism, said that Islamabad should clean up its act and try to be a good neighbour. Purportedly asked by a Pakistani journalist when will South Asia “stop facing terrorism from New Delhi and Kabul”, Jaishankar said that “you are asking the wrong minister when you say how long will we do this?”

“Because it is the ministers of Pakistan who will tell you how long Pakistan intends to practice terrorism,” Jaishankar said.

“In terms of what they are saying, the truth is everybody, the world today, sees them as the epicentre of terrorism,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the world is not stupid, the world is not forgetful. And the world does increasingly call out countries and organisations and people who indulge in terrorism.”

Pakistan reporter: How long South Asia will see terrorism from New Delhi, Kabul, Pakistan, how long they will be at war

India’s EAM Jaishankar: You are asking the wrong minister..It is the minister of Pakistan who will tell you how long Pak intends to practice terrorism

Watch: pic.twitter.com/yrwyd3nS1P

— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) December 15, 2022


“By taking that debate elsewhere, you are not going to hide it. You are not going to confuse anybody anymore. People have figured it out. So my advice is please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour.”

“Please try and contribute to what the rest of the world is trying to do today, which is economic growth, and progress and development,” Jaishankar said.


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