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Swaraj-Sharif’s war of words at UN: 5 key takeaways

india Updated: Oct 02, 2015 13:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
India-Pakistan clash at UN

Combination photo of India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif at the UN.

India continued its attack on Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN general assembly for the second day in a row with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj saying Pakistan should stop sponsoring terror before thinking of talks.

“Talks and terror cannot go together,” Swaraj said on Thursday in a sharp reply to Sharif’s statement that India and Pakistan should take steps to prevent escalation of the tension along the line of control and the working boundary.

Swaraj also proposed talks between national security advisers on all issues related to terrorism, an event that was stymied by Pakistan last time it was scheduled in August.

On Wednesday,the first secretary in the permanent mission of India to the UN, Abhishek Singh had used the ‘right of reply’ after Sharif’s speech to hit back at Pakistan over its “policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists.”

As for Sharif’s elaborate four point proposal for peace in Kashmir, Swaraj had a cryptic reply: “We don’t need four points, we need just one: Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.”

Here are the five main points from PM Sharif’s speech and minister Swaraj’s replies to those:

1. Sharif: Pakistan is the primary victim of terrorism. We have lost thousands of lives including civilians and soldiers to terrorist violence. The blood that has been shed – including that of our innocent children – has reinforced our resolve to eliminate this scourge from our society. We will fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, irrespective of who their sponsors are.

Swaraj: International terrorism can only be defeated by organized international action. 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.

2.Sharif: The global threat of terrorism cannot be defeated unless we address its underlying causes. Poverty and ignorance are part of the problem. Extremist ideologies must be opposed.

Swaraj: 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.

3. Sharif: In 1997 when the Composite Dialogue was launched with India, our two countries agreed that this would encompass two principal items: Kashmir and Peace and Security, along with six other issues,including terrorism. The primacy and urgency of addressing these two issues is even more compelling today. Consultations with Kashmiris, who are an integral part of the dispute, are essential to evolving a peaceful solution. Since 1947, the Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved. UN Security Council resolutions have remained unimplemented. Three generations of Kashmiris have only seen broken promises and brutal oppression. Over 100,000 have died in their struggle for self-determination. This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations.

Swaraj: India remains open to dialogue. But talks and terror cannot go together.

4. Sharif: Today ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary are intensifying, causing civilian deaths including women and children. Wisdom dictates that our immediate neighbour refrains from fomenting instability in Pakistan. The two countries should address and resolve the causes of tension and take all possible measures to avert further escalation. That is why I want to use the opportunity today to propose a new peace initiative with India, starting with measures that are the simplest to implement.

Swaraj: Let us hold talks at the level of NSAs on all issues connected to terrorism and an early meeting of our Directors General of Military Operations to address the situation on the border. If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue.

5. Sharif: I want to use the opportunity today to propose a new peace initiative with India, starting with measures that are the simplest to implement. One, we propose that Pakistan and India formalize and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir. For this purpose, we call for UNMOGIP’s expansion to monitor the observance of the ceasefire. Two, we propose, that Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances. This is a central element of the UN Charter. Three, steps be taken to demilitarize Kashmir. Four, agree to an unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground.

Swaraj: We do not need four points, we need just one - give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk. This was precisely what was discussed and decided by the two Prime Ministers at Ufa this July.

Read | Vacate PoK, ‘de-terrorise’ Pak: India’s sharp reply to Sharif