Narendra Modi praises Sushma Swaraj amid India’s aggressive posturing on Kashmir
Exchange of barbs between India and Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York and statements of leaders over the past few days have become shriller, signifying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif have lost faith in each other. The developments, thus, leave no scope for the early resumption of the dialogue process. Experts believe the squall at the UN signals a gathering storm on the horizon.
In a rare public show of admiration for his ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday burst into a big praise of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, with as many as five tweets on her speech in the UNGA. On the other hand, exercising right to reply, a Pakistani diplomat raked up issues like “tardy” trial of accused in the Samjhauta Express blasts and even raised Gujarat riots, an internal issue of India, in a blatant attempt to stain Modi’s image who was chief minister of the state at the time of rioting in 2002, even though, no court or investigating agency has found any evidence against him.
Modi started with his first tweet that said: “Just spoke to @SushmaSwaraj ji & congratulated her for the excellent speech at the @UN. A perfect articulation of key global issues” and then launched into other tweets to back her to the hilt. Modi said: “Fully agree with you @SushmaSwaraj ji, empowering the girl child is vital to bring about a change in society.”
In two other tweets, Modi said: “In her speech EAM @Sush2 OmaSwaraj has rightly emphasised on the need to end all forms of terror & make the world a peaceful place to live in.” and “EAM @SushmaSwaraj has wonderfully highlighted India’s contribution to @UN & shared India’s vision of what UN must be in the 21st century.”
Hours after Swaraj speech, Pakistan fielded its diplomat Bilal Ahmed, counsellor at its permanent mission to the UN, to reply. Member states can exercise their right to reply only after all other pre-scheduled speakers for the day have completed their addresses. So when Ahmad stood up, many of heads of government who had spoken earlier, including Swaraj, had left.
While reminding that UN Security Council has passed resolutions on Kashmir in 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1957, he said it was disingenuous of India to ignore the serious peace initiative proposed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “While proclaiming its willingness to talk, India has imposed pre-conditions, knowing that these would be unacceptable to Pakistan,” he said. He also blamed that India’s reaction to Sharif’s speech suggests that acts of terrorism in Pakistan were acceptable. Raking up the issue of 2007 Samjhauta Express
blasts, he said India has failed to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism thus attempting to equate the issue with the tardy judicial trial of Mumbai bombings in a Rawalpindi court. “The decision of the Indian government not to challenge the bail granted to Swami Aseemanand, the main accused in the case, raises serious doubts about India’s willingness to convict its nationals involved in terror incidents against Muslims. This is a continuation of the sad saga of the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat,” Pakistani diplomat said.
Further blaming India for fomenting instability in Pakistan, he claimed that dossiers including details of Indian interference and support for terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi as well as its security and intelligence agencies’ link with the TTP especially in FATA have been handed over to UN Secretary General.
Earlier, Swaraj had rejected Sharif’s 4-point formula for peace, saying Pakistan needs to address “just one” issue of ending cross-border terror for the dialogue to start on all outstanding matters as it proposed National Security Advisor-level talks to discuss the matter. “Talks and terror cannot go together”, she said while making it clear that India “remains open to dialogue” but terrorism emanating from Pakistan is hampering normalisation of bilateral relations. She said the prime ministers of the two countries had decided precisely the same during the last meeting in Ufa in Russia in July. In this context, she referred to the 26/11 carnage, which was sponsored and controlled from Pakistan as also the latest attack in Udhampur in Jammu where a Pakistani terrorist was caught alive.
Though, Pakistan had been raking up Kashmir issue at every annual UNGA session invoking Indian response, but there used to be some positive expectations like commitment to carry forward dialogue. But as noted diplomat M K Bhadrakumar has marked that 2015 speeches are gloomy, alarmist and even signaling gathering storms on the horizon.