Aiming at Pakistan, Swaraj tells UN world must isolate nations exporting terror

By Sarkaritel September 27, 2016 08:24

Aiming at Pakistan, Swaraj tells UN world must isolate nations exporting terror


United Nations, Sep 26 (IANS) Taking aim at Pakistan’s role in nurturing terrorism, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a stirring call on Monday for isolating Islamabad if it does not join a global strategy against the “malevolent” force threatening the world.

Warning the world that “we do not know who this Frankenstein’s monster will devour next”, she told the UN General Assembly in Hindi, “If we want to defeat terrorism, there is only one way — that we unite across our differences, add steel to our resolve and inject urgency in our response”.

“And if any nation refuses to join this global strategy, then we must isolate it,” said.

Swaraj did not name Pakistan in this part of her speech, but left little doubt who she was referring to. While speaking specifically of relations with Pakistan, she said, “Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross border terror.”

Ali was caught during a gun-battle on July 25, in Kashmir’s Kupwara District.

“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it,” she said. “To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account. These nations, in which UN declared terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.”

Turning to Pakistan, Swaraj said that India had offered the hand of friendship, and listed a number of initiatives India had undertaken without pre-conditions. These ranged from major initiatives like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impromptu visit to Lahore and her own Islamabad trip, to minor gestures of amity like Eid greetings, and wishes for the success of its cricket team.

“We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship,” she said.

That was a direct rebuttal to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s assertion last week that India was imposing conditions for talks with his nation.

In the past India has stated at the UN that the only condition was that terrorism should be stopped.

“We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent,” she said.

“And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur All, and Uri,” Swaraj said referring to the major terrorist attacks on India. ”

“It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets. My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”

Outside the UN the Pakistani protest against India over Kashmir failed to materialise in time for Swaraj’s speech. Only three protesters were at the barricades while she spoke. One of them said that they were expecting “two to three hundred protesters” from Washington and other places later in the day.

Swaraj also hit out against what she termed as Sharif’s “baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country.”

“I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan,” she said. “The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression.”

While speaking of terrorism – “the biggest violation of human rights” — and its facilitators, Swaraj said, “It is important to ask, ‘Who is behind this and who benefits from it?’ Terrorists do not own banks or weapons factories, so let us ask the real question: who finances these terrorists, who arms them and provides sanctuaries?”

These questions had also been asked by Afghanistan, a victim of Pakistan-based terrorism, she said.

Last Wednesday, Afghanistan’s Vice President Sarwar Danesh, who raised these issues, pointed to Pakistan and asked, “Where are the leaders of the Taliban and A1-Qaeda residing, and where were they killed? At this very moment, where are the leaders of the Taliban and Haqqani network located?”

Swaraj said that terrorism is a matter of “most critical importance to the world” and spoke of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York earlier this month and the latest attack on the city as it prepared for the Assembly session.

“We, who have suffered in Uri recently, understand the pain inflicted by the same forces,” she said referring to the recent cross-border terrorist attack that killed 18 soldiers.

“Despite the blood and tears of innocent victims, attacks this year alone in Kabul and Dhaka, Istanbul and Mogadishu, Brussels and Bangkok, Paris, Pathankot and Uri as well as daily barbaric tragedies in Syria and Iraq, remind us that these malevolent forces are yet to be defeated,a she added.

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not here, the ground had been well-prepared for the message on terrorism and Pakistan that Swaraj delivered.

Modi met several world leaders at the G-20 meeting in China earlier this month and in other forums. India’s Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari led India at the Nonaligned summit in Venezuela this month, where he and his team presented India’s case to the movement’s 120 members.

Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar spent last week in meetings with a host of leaders including a president, a prime minister and several foreign ministers making India’s case.

Reflecting Swaraj’s remark about the global impact of terrorism and the concern it invokes, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who followed her on the podium, declared, “Terrorism remains a clear and present threat to international peace and security.”

Diplomats who have been following the Assembly debates said that of the nearly 180 countries that have spoken as of Monday morning at the UN at least 90 percent had specifically expressed their concern about terrorism.

Swaraj spoke on the last day of the annual Assembly summit. The order of speakers is determined by the hierarchy of leadership and foreign ministers are among the last on the roster.

By Monday, most of the presidents and prime ministers had left New York and tight security was loosened as the city and UN moved towards an atmosphere of normalcy.

Swaraj appealed to the Assembly to act on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that India proposed in 1996 but is still languishing. Because of this failure, “We are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited.”

On the other major issue of importance to India that has stalled for over two decades in the Assembly, she said, “Just as we need a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism, we also need a less outdated Security Council that continues to reflect the world order of an earlier era.”

She said the UN should move forward with the negotiations for reforms based on the agenda text already accepted.

“An expansion in the Permanent and non-Permanent membership of the Council to reflect contemporary realities is therefore, an urgent necessity.”

During her speech she also touched on global issues like climate change and development.

On October 2 – Gandhi Jayathi – India will deposit the instrument of ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change, she said.

By Sarkaritel September 27, 2016 08:24