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Sushma Swaraj gives stern response to Nawaz Sharif: Give up terrorism and let’s talk

“We do not need a four-point proposal. We need just one: give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk. This will resolve all the problems,” said Swaraj.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian | Washington |
Updated: October 2, 2015 11:11:49 am
Sushma Swaraj, Sushma Swaraj pakistan, UN Sushma Swaraj, Sushma Swaraj at UN, Sushma Swaraj UN, UN pakistan, UN, Pakistan, NSA-level talks, india pakistan, india pakistan talks, indian express news Sushma Swaraj speaks during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters. (Source: AP Photo)

India responded on Thursday to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “four-point peace initiative” with a proposal of its own: give up terrorism. “We do not need a four-point proposal. We need just one: give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk. This will resolve all the problems,” Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Read: Full text of Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the UN

Read: Pakistan submits dossier alleging evidence of India’s hand in terrorism to UN

Underlining Pakistan’s failure to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice, Swaraj, who addressed the UNGA in Hindi, said India remained open to dialogue but this could not go hand in hand with terrorism.

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“None of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world shared our outrage at the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks in which citizens of many nations were helplessly butchered. That the mastermind behind the attacks is walking free is an affront to the entire international community,” she said.

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Alluding to the recent terrorist attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, Swaraj said not only had Pakistan not honoured past assurances, but there had been new cross-border attacks in which two terrorists from Pakistan had been caught.

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The minister said India had wanted to hold talks at the level of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) and Director Generals Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries. “If their response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through dialogue,” she said.

Describing terrorism as the greatest threat facing the world today, she said it could only be defeated by organised international action. She made a push for the UN to adopt the comprehensive convention on terrorism that was drafted by India and has been in the works since 1996.

“The world must demonstrate that it has zero tolerance for terrorists who kill and maim innocent civilians, with action based on the principle of prosecute or extradite. 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 said.

Swaraj said it would be appropriate for the UN to adopt the convention, which would provide a legal framwork to deal with international terrorism, in its 70th year. The convention has been controversial because of the disagreement over defining terrorism.

On Wednesday, Sharif had attacked India from the UN rostrum for “fomenting instability” in his country and what he called the “occupation” of Kashmir, praised China for being “a model of south-south cooperation”, and proposed a “four-point plan” toward peace.

Using its “right of reply”, India today described Pakistan as “the occupier in question” in J&K, and called attention to its reservations about the proposed China-Pakistan economic corridor “passing through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan for many years”.

The first secretary at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN made the reply. The “heart of the matter”, India noted, “is a state that regards the use of terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft” whose “consequences have spread beyond the immediate neighbourhood”.

In a direct response to Sharif’s finger pointing at India for the instability in Pakistan and his claim that his country was the primary victim of terrorism, India said it was “not uncommon for states, when confronted with serious challenges, to shift responsibility on others. That is the case with Pakistan and terrorism, reflecting the inability to recognise that this is a homegrown problem that has begun to bite the hand that fed it”.

With some sarcasm thrown in, the statement noted that “(we) agree that terrorism has underlying causes, in this case poverty of wisdom and ignorance of consequences”.

India said the ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC) and International Boundary were taking place “to provide cover to terrorists crossing the border. It needs no imagination to figure out which side initiates this exchange”.

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