India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Friday said countries cannot adopt a “segmented and differentiated fight against terrorism” by only acting "against some groups", The Hindu reported. Without naming Pakistan, the diplomat said the concept of "state and non-state actors is a false dichotomy" and added that a country “cannot escape responsibility” by calling a group a non-state actor.

Pakistan has in the past called certain organisations operating from its soil "non-state actors", which critics have seen as a way of denying responsibility. Jaishankar said action against some groups was not a “justification for giving [a] free pass, let alone active support” to other ones.

Jaishankar also took on China for blocking India's attempt to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist. He said combating terrorism was an area where China “would be appreciative of India’s interests”. He added, “The sanctioning of well-known terrorist leaders and organisations should not emerge as an issue of difference.”

Jaishankar’s remarks, made at a conference organised by the East West Centre, come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the “export of terror” was a “common security threat” to society, while speaking at the 14th summit of the Association of South East Nations. On Monday, Modi attempted to isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism by referring to Islamabad as the “single nation” spreading terror in South Asia at an informal gathering of Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) representatives on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China. However, Pakistan refuted the allegations, instead accusing India of “supporting militancy” to destabilise its neighbour.

The diplomatic row between India and Pakistan escalated after Islamabad dedicated its Independence Day to the “freedom of Kashmir”. Modi then brought up alleged human rights violations in the Pakistani province of Balochistan during his Independence Day remarks. Later, Islamabad told the United Nations Security Council that it “deplored the lethal use of force” by Indian forces in the Valley, even as New Delhi called its neighbour a “prime perpetrator” of terrorism in the region.