In a sharp response to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s remarks on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday highlighted his country’s “complicity in cross-border terror.” While asserting that “Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so” and stressing Pakistan’s “brutality against the Baloch people,” she fell short of calling our western neighbor a terrorist state.
Delivering her speech in Hindi at the UN General Assembly, she refuted Sharif’s charge that India had imposed unacceptable preconditions for talks. “What pre-conditions? Did we impose any precondition before extending an invitation for the oath-taking ceremony of our government? Did we impose any precondition when I went to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference and agreed to begin the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue? Did we impose any precondition when Prime Minister Modi travelled from Kabul to Lahore? What preconditions?”
She also underlined India’s initiatives for better Indo-Pak ties. “We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and wellbeing. Did all this come with preconditions attached?”
Swaraj emphasized Pakistan’s serial betrayals: “And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri. Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial. It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets.”
She, however, did not name Pakistan as a terrorist state, though the reference was not unclear. “In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account. These nations, in which UN-designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbor. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.”
Swaraj assured the UN about India’s commitment to combating climate change. “We have decided to submit our Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who epitomized a lifestyle with the smallest carbon footprint.”
She also informed the UN about the progress made by India regarding Sustainable Development Goals, the Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Make in India, Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India, Skill India, and Yoga.