|India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, US, September 26, 2016.|
“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,” Sushma said while addressing the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday.
Referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent speech at the UNGA, the Indian foreign minister claimed that PM Nawaz made baseless allegations of human rights violations in her country. “I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan,” Sushma said. “The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression.”
PM Nawaz at the UNGA had demanded an independent inquiry and a UN fact-finding mission to investigate extra-judicial killings and brutalities perpetrated by security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) to punish those found guilty.
The Indian FM while rejecting PM Nawaz’s remarks of “unacceptable” Indian preconditions to dialogue questioned what preconditions her country had imposed for negotiations with its nuclear-armed neighbour. “We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Eid greetings to the premier of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and wellbeing. Did all this come with pre-conditions attached?”
Sushma’s address comes as the two nuclear-armed nations and arch-rivals exchange barbs over an attack on an Indian military base in Srinagar earlier this month which had left 18 uniformed men killed. Following the incident, Indian army reportedly requested the Narendra Modi-led government to consider “limited but punitive” cross-border strikes to send a message to Pakistan, which it held responsible for the attack.
The two difficult neighbours have been at odds since July 8 when a populist Kashmiri rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed by Indian forces. At least 100 demonstrators were also killed when the occupied military used indiscriminate force against the masses protesting the Wani’s killing.
Modi also invited Pakistan’s anger during his Independence Day address this year wherein he had said that the latter would have to answer for its ‘human rights’ violation in Balochistan and Azad Kashmir. Tensions between the two countries were also fuelled on January 5 when an Indian airbase in Pathankot was attacked, leaving 11 people including Indian soldiers dead.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi dismissed Sushma’s statement on Monday as “a litany of falsehoods and baseless allegations.”
“For the Indian Foreign Minister to claim that her country has imposed no preconditions for talks with Pakistan is another flight from reality. India suspended talks more than a year ago, and has refused to resume these despite repeated offers from Pakistan,” Lodhi said.