CAN’T TALK TO ‘KILLERS’: SUSHMAAT UNGA
Makes strong pitch for developed nations lifting the deprived with financial, technical help
Pakistan’s commitment to terrorism as an instrument of state policy has not abated one bit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told world leaders at the UN on Saturday and asked them how India can pursue talks with a nation that “glorifies killers” and allows the Mumbai attack mastermind to “roam free” with impunity.
In a hard-hitting retort to Pakistan, Swaraj said India has made many efforts to hold talks with Islamabad and the only reason New Delhi has called off dialogue is because of Pakistan’s behaviour.
“We are accused of sabotaging the process of talks. This is a complete lie. We believe that talks are the only rational means to resolve the most complex of disputes,” she said in her address to the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly here. “Talks with Pakistan have begun many times. If they stopped, it was only because of Pakistan’s behaviour,” she said.
The minister told the world body that after assuming power, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers on the margins of the General Assembly. India accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, news came that terrorists had killed three Indian jawans, she said.
“Does this indicate a desire for dialogue,” Swaraj asked.
She noted that various governments in India over the years have tried the peace option with Pakistan.
Modi, by inviting the Heads of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations to his swearing in ceremony in 2014, had begun his attempt for dialogue on his very first day in office. Swaraj said she too had in December 2016, personally gone to Islamabad and offered a comprehensive bilateral dialogue.
“But soon after, Pakistan-sponsored terrorists attacked our air force base in Pathankot on January 2. Please explain to me how we could pursue talks in the midst of terrorist bloodshed,” she asked.
She said “in our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border to the west”.
The minister also said that countries
Warning against a delay in reforming the world body, Swaraj said reform must begin today as tomorrow could be too late
that have exploited the nature for their immediate needs cannot abdicate their responsibilities and developed nations must lift the deprived with financial and technical resources.
Under-developed and developing nations are the worst victims of climate change and these neither have the capacity nor the resources to meet this crisis, she said. “The biggest challenge of our era comes from the existential threats of climate change and terrorism. Those who have exploited nature for their immediate needs cannot abdicate their responsibilities. If we have to save the world from the adverse effects of climate change, then developed nations must lift the deprived with financial and technical resources,” Swaraj said. She asserted
that the principle of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities was reiterated in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
She warned that the UN risks falling into irrelevance in the absence of fundamental reforms, saying multilateralism will collapse if the world body remains ineffective.
For long, India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan. The four countries support each others' bids for the permanent seats in the top UN body. “Reform cannot be cosmetic. We need to change the institution’s head and heart to make both compatible to the contemporary reality,” she said.
Swaraj warned against a delay in reforming the world body, saying reform must begin today as tomorrow could be too late.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters on Saturday