In her address at the 70th United Nations General Assembly, Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister for External Affairs, responded to Pakistan’s peace initiative underscoring that while her country remains open to dialogue, Pakistan must eschew terrorism before serious talks between the two sides could begin.
“We do not need four points, we need just one – give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk. This was precisely what was discussed and decided by the two Prime Ministers at Ufa this July,” she asserted at the annual General Debate, referring to the proposal presented by Pakistan yesterday.
She said it is unacceptable for a country to support terrorism as part of statecraft. She also deplored Pakistan’s inaction against terrorists who, she said, masterminded the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
“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,” she added.
Mrs. Swaraj said that the purpose of these attacks is meant to destabilize India and legitimize Pakistan's illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir "and its claim on the rest of it.” However, she asserted that ‘India remains open to dialogue’ but insisted that talks and terror cannot go together.
“Let us hold talks at the level of National Security Agency (NSAs) on all issues connected to terrorism and an early meeting of our Directors General of Military Operations to address the situation on the border. If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue,” said Mrs. Swaraj.
She also reiterated India’s stance on defeating international terrorism through organized international action.
“The world must demonstrate that it has zero tolerance for terrorists who kill and maim innocent civilians with action based on the principle of prosecute or extradite. Countries that provide financing to terrorists and safe havens for their training, arming and operations must be made to pay a heavy price by the international community,” she said.
She also urged the pressing need to reform the UN Security Council to preserve the centrality and legitimacy of the UN.
“How can we have a Security Council in 2015 which still reflects the geo-political architecture of 1945? How can we have a Security Council which still does not give place as a permanent member to Africa and Latin America?” she asked.
She further suggested that more developing nations be included in the decision-making structures of the Security Council. She also pressed for changing what she described as the Council’s outdated and non-transparent working methods.
Mrs. Swaraj also applauded UN’s recent adoption of Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), calling them ‘”a blueprint more comprehensive and holistic than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”