New York: In a no-holds-barred attack on Pakistan for its support and export of terror, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday, asked the neighbour’s politicians to introspect as to why India is recognised globally as an IT superpower while Pakistan is infamous as the “pre-eminent export factory for terror”.
While India, she said, has built institutions of learning like IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, Pakistan has built terrorist organisations like the LeT, JeM, Haqqani Network and Hizbul Mujahideen.
“We produced scientists, scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists,” she said.
Swaraj, who began her address by praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and listing the various welfare schemes launched by the government, shifted the focus on Pakistan with this biting line, “While India is completely engaged in fighting poverty, our neighbour Pakistan is fighting us.”
Virtually calling Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi a hypocrite, Swaraj, responding to the accusations levelled by him, said that all those listening to his speech had only one reaction, “Look who is talking.”
“When Pakistan’s PM Abbasi was accusing India of human rights violations, those listening were commenting, ‘Look who’s talking’. A country that has crossed all limits by its brutality and slaughtered innocents was teaching us about humanity,” Swaraj said.
Her address came a day after India called Pakistan “Terroristan”, in response to Abbasi’s claims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Swaraj’s speech as “excellent” and “insightful”.
In a series of tweets, Modi said, “A strong message was given by Sushma Swaraj ji on the dangers of terrorism and why we have to unite and fight this menace. She has made India extremely proud at the world stage.”
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2017
Home minister Rajnath Singh also congratulated Swaraj for her “powerful” speech, saying she has “exposed” Pakistan’s duplicity on terrorism.
Her measured responses in spite of provocations speak volumes of her maturity & tenacity. She has exposed Pakistan’s duplicity on terrorism.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 23, 2017
Swaraj, who delivered her speech in Hindi, said that the Pakistani PM has to answer why the peace process between the two countries was stalled despite India’s efforts and referred to her own visit to Islamabad in 2015 in this regard.
She further said that the Pakistan PM has forgotten that under the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, India and Pakistan resolved that they would settle all outstanding issues bilaterally.
“The reality is that Pakistan’s politicians remember everything, manipulate memory into a convenience. They are masters at forgetting facts that destroy their version,” she said.
Virtually pouring scorn on Pakistan’s claim that its founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, had left a legacy of peace and friendship, Swaraj, her voice dripping with sarcasm, said history knows whether this was so and then added that it was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wanted peace and friendship with Islamabad.
“Pakistan’s Prime Minister claimed that (his nation’s founder) Mohammed Ali Jinnah had bequeathed a foreign policy based on peace and friendship. History knows only too well whether he did so or not, but what is beyond doubt is that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, from the moment he took his oath of office, offered the hand of peace and friendship,” Swaraj said.
She also praised Modi and referred to his schemes for poverty alleviation, empowerment of the girl-child and his efforts towards skill-development while at the same time hailing demonetisation as a brave step against corruption.
Swaraj had certain uncomfortable questions for the UN and global community as well.
Describing terrorism as an “existentialist danger” to mankind, Swaraj wondered how the international community will fight the menace if the UN Security Council cannot agree on the definition of terrorism.
“Although India proposed a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) as early as in 1996, yet two decades later the United Nations has not been able to agree upon a definition of terrorism. If we cannot agree to define our enemy, how can we fight together? If we continue to differentiate between good terrorists and bad terrorists, how can we fight together? If even the United Nations Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, how can we fight together? Let us display our new commitment by reaching an agreement on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism this year itself.”
Pointing out that action against all terrorists was the need of the hour, she said that there are countries which are stalling the process by putting their self-interest first.
Swaraj, speaking for the second consecutive year at the UNGA, began her speech by praising Modi.
“There are two ways of addressing the curse of poverty. The traditional method is through incremental levels of aid and hand-holding. But our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen the more radical route, through economic empowerment. All our economic programmes have a principal purpose, the empowerment of the poor. PM Modi is turning job seekers into job providers.”
Swaraj, who also spoke about the environmental crisis the world faces, concluded her address by reciting a Sanskrit verse that she also translated.
“May all be happy; May all be healthy; May all see what is good; May all be free from suffering.”...