India set no preconditions for talks, but Pakistan spurned friendship, Sushma at UN
India has not set pre-conditions for talks with Pakistan, but it has spurned India’s unprecedented gestures of friendship and instead responded with terrrorism as it continues to futilely dream of Kashmir, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the General Assembly in Monday.
Rebutting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s contention last week at the UN that India had placed unacceptable conditions for talks, she listed a series of gestures, large and small, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended to Islamabad.
Sharif “said that India has placed pre-conditions for talks which are not acceptable to him,” she said asking, “What pre-conditions?”
“We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship,” she said. “We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent.”
Without pre-conditions Modi had invited Sharif to his oath-taking ceremony, greeted him on Eid and visited him in Lahore, and Sushma Swaraj herself had visited Islamabad and wished the Pakistan’s team success, she said.
“And what did we get in return,” she asked. “Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri.”
Among a string of terrorist attacks against India, the strike on the air force base in Pathankot and the recent one on the army base in Uri stand out.
“Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross border terror,” she said.
In the past at the UN India has only said that it could not hold talks while it suffered terrorist attacks. Eloquently expounding on it, India’s Minister of State of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said last week: “Pakistan wants a dialogue while it holds a gun in its hand, terrorists’ gun,” he said. “Talks and guns don’t go together.”
” Pakistan remains in denial” when confronted by evidence of its complicity in terror like the confession of Bahadur Ali, Sushma Swaraj said. “When confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial. 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,” she declared. “Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”
The threatened anti-India protests by Pakistanis failed to materialise when Sushma Swaraj spoke. Only three people were at the barriers cordoning off the protest area in the Dag Hammarskjold Park across from the UN. One of them said that they planned to have more protesters later.
Calling terrorism a crime against humanity, she told the international community to identify and isolate those who do not sign on to the global war against terror – those “that speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it.”
“These nations, in which UN declared terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, areas culpable as the very terrorists they harbour,” she said. “Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.”
In a warning to Pakistan she said, “History proves that those who seed extremist ideologies, reap a bitter harvest.”