A war of words spilled on to the international stage as India and Pakistan reacted strongly to each other’s statements at the United Nations General Assembly.
“Talks and terror cannot go together,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday, in a sharp reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement that India and Pakistan should take steps to prevent escalation of tension along the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary.
Exercising its ‘right of reply’ to Swaraj’s statement, Pakistan retorted, “The core issue of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be cast aside by empty rhetoric. It has been and will always be on top of the agenda of any talks between India and Pakistan,” said Bilal Ahmad, counsellor in Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN.
Sharif had pointed out a four point proposal for peace in Kashmir, to which Swaraj responded: “We don’t need four points, we need just one: Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.”
The hostile exchanges come in the wake of frequent ceasefire violations along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and a complete breakdown of National Security Advisor-level talks in August due to a planned meeting between Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz and Kashmiri separatists.