Hitting out at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shrarif for using “this same podium” to make baseless allegation against human rights violations in Kashmir, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj today called for the international community to isolate Pakistan. “Amongst us there are nations that pedal it and shelter it (terror). We must identify these nations, and such countries should have no place in the global community,” said Swaraj speaking at the United Nations General Assembly here in New York.
Responding to Sharif’s allegations that India places pre-conditions on talks, Swaraj invoked the various overtures of friendship made by the Modi government in the past. “Did we impose any conditions when we invited the PM to the oath taking ceremony? Did we impose any preconditions when Modi travelled from Kabul to Lahore?,” asked Swaraj.
Claiming that Pakistan abused India’s friendship, Swaraj said, “We wished the Pakistani PM for Eid, wished their cricket team and asked after the well-being of the PM. This was never done before. And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali and Uri? Are we putting conditions or you going in another direction?”
Accusing Pakistan of “ignoring evidence” of state sponsored terror, Swaraj spoke of LeT terrorist Bahadur Ali, caught by security personnel on July 25. “When confronted, with such evidence Pakistan remains in denial.”
Kashmir featured strongly in the External Affairs minister’s speech. “Those making allegation (of human rights violations), I urge them to see what’s happening in Balochistan. That’s the worst form of state oppression,” hit out Swaraj, adding, that “Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India.”
Delivering her speech in Hindi, Swaraj also called the global community to look into terror havens and financers. “Who is behind this (terror) and who own this. Terrorists don’t own banks or arms factors, who finances them and provides them with sanctuary?” she asked, adding, “History proves that those who see extremist ideology, reap bitter harvest.” She also asked world leaders to come together to jointly fight terror. “If you want to defeat terror, we have to forget our prejudices, and script an effective strategy again terror.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s various development schemes also featured prominently in Swaraj’s UN speech. Swaraj said these initiatives were in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Agenda of 2030. “Under the Swach Bharat mission, more than 400,000 toilets were constructed in schools.”.
The 4th gallery of the United Nations General Assembly Hall saw Indian Americans from New York, come in to watch Swaraj speak. They cheered as Swaraj spoke about Yoga being recognized as an ‘international day’. Chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai rang out when Swaraj said that Jammu and Kashmir will always be a part of India.
The United Nations Headquarters wore a deserted look. With all heads of state concluding their speeches in the first week of the assembly in session, security has not been as stringent. The first week beginning September 19, saw heavily armed NYPD, Federal Agents and Secret Service swarming the areas from Second Avenue to the United Nations Headquarters. Today, however, their presence was almost nil.
Sarah Salvadore is an independent data and investigative reporter. She is a fellow at the Global Migration Project at Columbia Journalism School