CAN’T TALK TO ‘KILLERS’: SUSHMAAT UNGA

Makes strong pitch for de­vel­oped na­tions lift­ing the de­prived with fi­nan­cial, tech­ni­cal help

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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

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