Swaraj's fiery speech at UN
The war of words between India and Pakistan reached a new high with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj taking on Pakistan in a hard-hitting speech at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday. Swaraj charged Pakistan with harbouring terrorists and indulging in doublespeak. She said that while the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York have been brought to justice, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack Hafiz Saeed still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity. "Pakistan's commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy," Swaraj had said. Speaking after Swaraj, Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi too blamed India for destabilising Pakistan and orchestrating militant attacks in the country. He specifically mentioned the 2014 massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar as the handiwork of India. Talking about Pakistan's doublespeak on the issue of actions taken against terrorists, Swaraj reminded the world leaders how Osama bin Laden was provided with a safe haven in Pakistan until the US special forces killed him in a military operation. She also dismissed the Pakistani allegations that India was avoiding formal meetings and talks with Pakistan, stating that Pakistan is not serious about the talks as it failed to maintain peace along the international border with and the Line of Control between the two countries. She mentioned the incident of the BSF man whose mutilated body was recovered from near the international border in the Jammu sector after nine hours of a brief fire from the Pakistani side. The incident took place the day India had agreed to a foreign minister-level talk with Pakistan on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting in New York. The next day, three special police officers were abducted and killed by militants in the Shopian district in south Kashmir. Around the same time, the Pakistan government released a series of postal stamps glorifying Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was neutralised by the Indian security forces in 2016. India had agreed to the foreign minister level talks in the light of Pakistan's newly-appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan's letter to his Indian counterpart, expressing a desire to resume the stalled talks and normalise the relations between the two countries. But the spirit shown in the Imran Khan's letter was missing from the actions taken by the Pakistani authorities. In his Mann Ki Baat programme, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified India's position on the talks with Pakistan. He said India stands for peace in its neighbourhood but will not compromise on self-respect or sovereignty of the country. Pakistan's doublespeak on terrorism in which it says it is part of the war against terrorism while it actually supports them leaves India not only in a highly embarrassing situation but also provokes various security agencies involved in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. After the barbaric killing of a BSF man along the border in the Jammu sector, talking with Pakistan was no more an option available to the Indian government. After glorifying Burhan Wani by issuing postal stamps in his memory, Pakistan had made its intent and content of the proposed talks clear. It is simply not ready for a meaningful talk.
India's strong stance against Pakistan for interfering in Kashmir and is widely known and appreciated. Despite all the provocations, India has not gone for a full-fledged war with Pakistan. In 2016, it conducted a surgical strike after the heavily armed militants attacked a camp of Indian security forces in the Uri sector of Jammu & Kashmir in which 17 security personnel were killed. This year, India is celebrating the second anniversary of the surgical strike, reminding Pakistan the action that India can take if provoked beyond a point. In the surgical strike, specially trained Indian commandos entered the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and destroyed a range of bunkers where militants were holed up, waiting for the right opportunity to enter India. Pakistan has denied any such action by India. The enthusiasm with which the Pakistani ministers and officials try to hide the country's misdeeds is shocking. The Pakistani foreign minister has accused India of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Now, as long as the Pakistani authorities believe in such baseless gossips, they cannot see the ground realities and how Pakistan has come to a point of no return as far as its involvement in nurturing terrorism on its soil is concerned. Talking to such people with so much of ignorance and the pre-conceived notion is not only a wastage of time but also humiliating and traumatising. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's speech, criticising India for rights violations and insurgency in Pakistan, at UN was nothing but a delusion and as long as he harbours such false notions about India, it is better not to hold talks at all.