UNITED NATIONS/NEW DELHI:The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) witnessed India-Pakistan fireworks for the second day running. If Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused India of fomenting instability in his country and raised the Kashmir issue on Wednesday, it was the turn of India to give him an earful on Thursday.
“We don’t need four points. We just need one. Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, in her speech at the UNGA in New York. She was responding directly to the four proposals made Sharif.
Swaraj said it was an “affront to the international community” that the mastermind of 26/11 was walking free. She accused Pakistan of not implementing earlier reassurances, and sending new terror operatives across the border – making a mention of the Pakistani terrorists nabbed recently.
She said international terrorism could only be defeated by organised international action. “Countries that provide financing to terrorists and safe havens for their training, arming and operations must be made to pay a heavy price by the international community,” she stressed and asserted that there were no good terrorists or bad terrorists. “A terrorist is a terrorist. One who commits crimes against humanity has no religion,” she added.
She called upon the international community to pass the long-pending comprehensive convention on international terrorism and brought up India’s vision for the UN Security Council reforms and also for the Paris meeting on climate change.
After her speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called and congratulated her for “perfect articulation of key issues”. As expected with relations being in the freezer, Sharif had used the UNGA on Wednesday to lash out at India – even though he did not mention it by name. For its right to reply, India deployed its first secretary at the permanent mission to UN in New York. “It was stated that Jammu and Kashmir is under foreign occupation. It is, except that the occupier in question is Pakistan. In fact, India’s reservations about the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor stem from the fact that it passes through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan for many years,” said the Indian first secretary.
Sharif had proposed a four-point “new peace initiative,” which includes formalising the 2003 understanding on ceasefire along LoC and expansion of the UN monitoring group, demilitarization of Kashmir, unconditional withdrawal from Siachen and no use of forces under any circumstances.
“To de-militarise Kashmir is not the answer, to de-terrorise Pakistan is,” asserted External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Twitter less than 90 minutes after Sharif ended his speech. It was an outright rejection of Sharif’s proposals.