As anticipation builds over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Friday, September 27, it is pertinent to recollect that the terrorism emanating from Pakistan’s soil has featured in every speech delivered at this forum 2014 onwards. 5 years ago, the PM led the charge by showcasing his willingness to hold talks with Pakistan without “the shadow of terrorism”. At that juncture, he also pinned the responsibility of creating “an appropriate environment” for a dialogue on Pakistan. There are multiple other occasions when the epicentre of terrorism was effectively called out.
Speaking at the UNGA in 2015, former External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj expressed anguish over the fact that the mastermind of the 26/11 attack, Hafiz Saeed, was roaming free. She revealed that not only had cross-border attacks taken place, but also two terrorists from Pakistan had been captured alive.
“None of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world shared our outrage at the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which citizens of many nations were helplessly butchered. That the mastermind behind the attack is walking free is an affront to the entire international community. Not only have past assurances in this regard not been honoured but new cross- border terrorist attacks have taken place recently, in which two terrorists from across the border have also been captured alive. We all know that these attacks are meant to destabilize India and legitimize Pakistan's illegal occupation of parts of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir and its claim on the rest of it. Let me use this occasion to spell out our approach clearly. India remains open to dialogue. But talks and terror cannot go together,” she stated.
Swaraj called out the hypocrisy of Pakistan’s human right violation allegations and called out the atrocities in Balochistan in her 2016 UNGA remarks. She also urged it to abandon the dream of annexing Jammu and Kashmir.
The former EAM observed, “Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is living proof of Pakistan's complicity in cross-border terror. But 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. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”
Narrating the role of Pakistan in sabotaging the peace process between the two countries at the UNGA in 2017, Swaraj called upon the country to focus on development.
She said, “I would like today to tell Pakistan's politicians just this much, that perhaps the wisest thing they could do is to look within. India and Pakistan became free within hours of each other. Why is it that today India is a recognized IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as a pre-eminent export factory for terror?”The former EAM further added,” You have produced terrorists. Doctors save people from death; terrorists send them to death. If Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today.”
In what turned out to be her final address at the UNGA, Swaraj again spearheaded India’s stance last year. She exposed the duplicity of Pakistan asking for a dialogue on one hand and killing Indian soldiers on the other.
She opined, “Even now, after the new government came to power, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan wrote to Prime Minister Modi suggesting a meeting between Foreign Ministers in New York. We accepted the proposal. But, within hours of our acceptance, news came that terrorists had killed three of our jawans. Does this indicate a desire for dialogue? Time and again, Pakistan accuses India of human rights violations. Who can be a greater transgressor of human rights than a terrorist? Those who take innocent human lives in pursuit of war by other means are defenders of inhuman behavior, not of human rights. Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents.”