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Vajpayee to Manmohan: How Indian leaders have turned the heat on Pak at UNGA

india Updated: Sep 26, 2016 10:49 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Atal Bihari Vajpayee

File photo of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.(PTI)

India has raised the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism at the United Nations general assembly many times in the past: Sometimes in scathing terms, sometimes nuanced. Here’s a take on what Indian leaders said on the issue from the UNGA platform in the past.

Read: A befitting reply to Sharif in offing? Sushma to address UNGA today

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, UNGA 2002

A speech noted for his trademark flourish and subtle-yet scathing criticism, then prime minister AB Vajpayee tore into Pakistan’s policy of state-sponsored terrorism after the Parliament attack on December 2001. He took Pakistan’s name five times and mentioned the Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI, for unleashing terror on India.

“If Pakistan claims to be a crucial partner in the international coalition against terrorism, how can it continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India? How can the international coalition condone Pakistan-directed killings of thousands of innocent civilians, women and children included to promote a bizarre version of self determination” he asked.

“It requires an effort of logical acrobatics to believe that carnage of innocents is an instrument for freedom and elections are a symbol of deception and repression! If the elections are a mere fraud, why are terrorists being trained and infiltrated into India at the command of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency of Pakistan to kill election candidates and to intimidate voters,” Vajpayee said.

SM Krishna, external affairs minister, UNGA, 2009

Krishna’s address to the UNGA that came in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack was a balanced speech, where terrorism was mentioned three times but Pakistan once.

“The barbaric terrorist attack on the innocent people of Mumbai on November 26, 2008 reminds us of the daily and malignant menace that terrorism poses to all countries. There cannot be any justification whatsoever for such mindless terrorist acts. It is our collective responsibility and duty to work together to ensure that terrorists, organizers, perpetrators and supporters of such crimes are brought to justice,” he said.

He also said, “India is committed to establishing good neighbourly relations and resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful dialogue.”

Manmohan Singh, UNGA 2013

Then prime minister Singh used the forum to highlight Pakistan-sponsored terrorism at the UNGA. He took the name of Pakistan five times in his speech, in his speech which was also a reply to what Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Shair spoke a day before

“State-sponsored cross-border terrorism is of particular concern to India, also on account of the fact that the epicentre of terrorism in our region is located in our neighbourhood in Pakistan,” Singh said.

“India is committed sincerely to resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through bilateral dialogue on the basis of the Simla Agreement. However, for progress to be made, it is imperative that the territory of Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilized for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India. It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down,” he said.

Sushma Swaraj, UNGA 2015

She mentioned the word terrorism nine times and Pakistan three times. The message was clear: Pakistan must give up terrorism and India will sit down and talk.

“While on the subject of terrorism, I take the opportunity to share the challenges that we face in our ties with Pakistan. None of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world shared our outrage at the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which citizens of many nations were helplessly butchered. That the mastermind behind the attack is walking free is an affront to the entire international community. Not only have past assurances in this regard not been honoured but new cross-border terrorist attacks have taken place recently, in which two terrorists from across the border have also been captured alive. We all know that these attacks are meant to destabilise India and legitimise Pakistan’s illegal occupation of parts of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and its claim on the rest of it”