Simple answer - install JIRA.
The REST API is available automatically, and is, in all currently supported versions, a requirement for a good part of the system to work.
There's nothing to "enable", it's already there, and you can't turn it off (without hacking core core)
Then, what is the default URL of JIRA? I was trying to access it from Jenkins at http://hostname:8080/rest/api/2/. I even tried http://hostname:8081/rest/api/2/ and http://hostname:8080/jira/rest/api/2/. But none of them helped me in getting the response. any help is really appreciated.
But, yes, it is <your jira base url>/rest/api/<version> so http://hostname:8080/rest/api/2/ is right, assuming a recent version of jira and a base url of http://hostname:8080
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