A day after the Uri terror attack claimed the lives of 18 Army personnel, New Delhi has decided to up the ante against Pakistan on the global stage — much like it did after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
The government has decided to field External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is likely to raise the terror attacks in Uri and Pathankot in her speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Sources said she is likely to deliver her address — on behalf of the government of India — on September 26.
The speech will not be the only diplomatic move to corner Pakistan. Sources said the Indian mission to the UN will also set up bilateral meetings with a host of foreign ministers and other leaders representing various countries at the UN — in a bid to highlight Pakistan’s role in terrorist activities in Kashmir and other parts of India.
Sources said India’s Permanent Representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin will take this up with his counterparts at the UN in New York, where world leaders will descend for the annual UNGA session.
“This global outreach will be in a proactive manner, much like India’s outreach post 26/11,” a South Block source said.
Within hours of the Uri attack, Indian envoys in capitals across the world were asked to get foreign governments to condemn the attack.
This prompted the Indian envoy in the UK, Navtej Sarna, to set up the first phone conversation between UK’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Swaraj, in which he said that UK “condemns all forms of terrorism and stands shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism, and in bringing the perpetrators to justice”.
On Monday, several foreign governments and leaders issued public statements condemning the attack.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asserted that the perpetrators of the attack would be brought to justice and all stakeholders would meet their responsibilities to maintain peace and stability.
Sources said the Indian envoy in France, Mohan Kumar, also dialled the French Foreign Ministry, following which Paris issued a statement: “France most firmly condemns the terrible terrorist attack perpetrated against an Indian Army camp in the region of Kashmir.”
“France remains at India’s side in the combat against terrorism. It calls on every State to fight effectively against terrorist groups operating on their territory or from their territory against other countries,” it said.
France also recalled the importance it attaches to bringing a peaceful settlement of disputes in Kashmir region, a French Foreign Ministry statement said.
The country also called for decisive action to be taken, in accordance with international law, against terrorist groups targeting India, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
During a press briefing in Paris on Monday, the Deputy Spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development said, “After Pathankot earlier this year, this attack reminds us that India, like France, is a victim of terrorism… As underscored by the President of the French Republic during his India visit in January this year, all countries must effectively combat terrorism emanating from their territory or from territories under their control.”
As Joint Secretary (Americas) Munu Mahawar, who was a Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office till a few months ago, liaised with the American and Canadian governments, acting High Commissioner for Canada to India Jess Dutton condemned the Uri attack.
“We are appalled by these attacks and stand with the Government of India in the fight against terrorism,” Dutton said.
While US ambassador Richard Verma and State Department official John Kirby had condemned the attack on Sunday, Verma on Monday came out in solidarity with the Indian Army and tweeted about the Indo-US joint exercise. Russia and China also came out with statements by Monday evening — which meant that all P-5 countries had condemned the terrorist attack, although their language differed.
In New Delhi, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said that countries that use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy should not only be isolated but also held accountable for taking innocent lives.
Stressing that his country, which has been a victim of terrorism for a long time, can “share the pain”, he said it was high time that the international community chalks a new course of action to “effectively and actively” deal with countries which use terrorism as state policy.
In Geneva, India once again raised the issue of Pakistan’s “illegal and forcible” occupation of Indian territory in J&K and added that the “fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by Pakistan”. This was in response to Pakistan’s statements on the Kashmir turmoil.
India’s political counsellor at its mission to the UN in Geneva, Alok Ranjan Jha, who made the statement on behalf of the Indian government, also highlighted the “human rights violations in entire Pakistan”. “The human rights violations cry for the world’s attention: the people of Balochistan, amongst other provinces, have been waging for decades a bitter and brave struggle against their daily abuse and torture,” the Indian statement at the UN Human Rights Council said.
“Various international organisations have documented how enforced disappearances continue with impunity, particularly in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, where members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement are routinely abducted and unlawfully killed. Selective but extremely opaque and high-handed use of force by Pakistani authorities has affected civilian populations on a large scale. More than one million people remain displaced as a result of the current and past armed conflicts in the northwest of Pakistan,” Jha said.
Given this state of affairs, he said that Pakistan will be well-advised to focus its energies on setting its own house in order and acting against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on its neighbours instead of ritually raking up alleged human rights violations elsewhere.
“We, once again, ask Pakistan to stop inciting and supporting violence and terrorism in any part of India and refrain from meddling in our internal affairs in any manner. We call upon the Council to urge Pakistan to fulfil its obligation to vacate illegal occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,” he said.