PAKISTAN AND TERROR: WHAT MODI GOVERNMENT’S UNGA SPEECHES TELL US SO FAR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The four speeches that the Narendra Modi government has delivered from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) clearly tell where it began on Pakistan and where it stands now.

The first one, in September 2014, was addressed to the UNGA by Narendra Modi while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered the other three, including the latest one on September 23, 2017.

And when we go through them for the Pakistan specific portions, we can clearly see a trend – that how India first gave its rogue neighbour a chance to mend its ways and stop sponsoring terror into India – and then how it was compelled to take a tough, non-compromising position after seeing that Pakistan was beyond redemption.

After his government’s inaugural in May 2014 where Narendra Modi had invited Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif along with other SAARC leaders, he did try and gave Pakistan several chances until January 2016 when terrorists who had come Pakistan attacked Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab.

Though India had cancelled secretary level talks in August 2014 over Pakistan’s stubborn attitude to include Kashmiri separatists in bilateral talks, India really never closed the doors until Pathankot happened.

Modi and Sharif met in November 2014 in Kathmandu during the SAARC Summit, then on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Ufa in July 2015, in Paris in November 2015 on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference and in December 2015 when, in an unprecedented friendly gesture, Narendra Modi took a detour while en route to Delhi from Kabul and landed in Lahore to meet and greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday on December 25.

And the language of Modi’s UNGA speech on September 27, 2014 reflects that. The speech that mentioned Pakistan four times and terror 18 times said that “Modi was prepared to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in a peaceful atmosphere, without the shadow of terrorism, to promote friendship and cooperation” adding that, “however, Pakistan must also take its responsibility seriously to create an appropriate atmosphere for bilateral dialogue.”

India’s 2015 speech at the UNGA though put Pakistan directly in the dock for sheltering terrorists and spoke forcefully of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, it didn’t mention Pakistan more than three times in hopes that sense could still prevail in the mindset of the Pakistani ruling elite. Addressed by Sushma Swaraj on October 1, 2015, the speech said that “India remained open to dialogue but talks and terror could not go together.”

She added in speech where she mentioned terror 19 times, “Let us hold talks at the level of 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.”

But Pakistan had other evil intentions. So, in spite of Narendra Modi’s courageous step to heal India Pakistan ties, it backstabbed India just after a week, when terrorists, suspected to be from the United Jihad Council and Jaish-e-Mohammed, Pakistan based terror groups, attacked Pathankot Air Force base on January 2, 2016.

It has been a downward curve in India Pakistan ties since then with relations coming to a freeze. Pakistan’s nefarious designs did the same with the Pathankot attack probe like it has done with 2008 Mumbai terror attacks probe – absolutely nothing. Instead, it instigated a new wave of unrest in Kashmir by declaring the terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr and financially and military supporting separatists and terrorists.

The 2016 UNGA speech by Sushma Swaraj on September 26, 2016 that mentioned Pakistan six times bore the signs of frustration and the subsequent realization. The speech summed up India’s efforts to reach out to Pakistan, like Modi’s gestures, and how Pakistan backstabbed – “And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri.”

The speech that also mentioned terror 18 times then warned Pakistan in no unclear terms, “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.”

And 2017 only builds on that realization. Sushma’s address to the UNGA on September 23 in New York mentioned Pakistan 16 times and terror 20 times and said that “Pakistan seemed only engaged in fighting India.” Sushma speech that spent 655 words on explaining Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery held Pakistan responsible for the aborting the peace process between the two countries.

Clearly making a distinction between the two countries and showing Pakistan its real place Sushma said Pakistan had become a hopeless case and it had nothing to offer to the world and indeed to its own people apart from terrorism.

©SantoshChaubey

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