External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered some hard truths to Pakistan on Monday by telling Islamabad its trouble-making in Kashmir was not going to change the reality that Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.
Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swaraj did not indulge in warmongering but was statesmanlike. Modi has already signaled that the cost of war is too high for India's growing economy and the government will adhere instead to isolating Pakistan.
Thanks to India's diplomatic offensive and Pakistan's duplicity in Afghanistan, countries like the US, Britain, Russia and France are increasingly wary of Pakistan being in league with Muslim jihadists of all stripes. Washington is less willing to write Pakistan blank cheques and provide them with F-16 war jets after its failure to shut out the Taliban (supported covertly by Pakistan) in Afghanistan.
New Delhi is taking the fight to Pakistan when it comes to the war of words after the Uri terrorist attack. Days after India lampooned Pakistan as the "Ivy League" training centre for terrorists, Swaraj said Pakistan's use of terrorism was not going to change essential truths.
"Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so. My firm advice to Pakistan is stop dreaming about Kashmir," Swaraj told Pakistan in her highly anticipated address at the UN General Assembly.
India made it clear that Pakistan should not have the audacity to lecture New Delhi on human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had talked of the excessive use of force by Indian paramilitary forces after protests linked to the death of 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
"Pakistan would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country," Swaraj said in a clear reference to the Pakistani province Balochistan.
Until a few months ago, India has been very careful to avoid any reference to Balochistan which has been wracked by a cycle of never ending violence and economic insolvency since India and Pakistan were partitioned. Some Indian commentators have advocated that India should foment trouble for Pakistan in Balochistan as payback for Islamabad's meddling in Kashmir.
Swaraj made short work of Sharif's hollow claim that Pakistan has "gone the extra mile and repeatedly offered dialogue."
"What did we get in return (for talks)? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri," said Swaraj.
"Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a 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," she added.
Here's Sushma Swaraj's speech at the UNGA in English:
Published Date: Sep 26, 2016 09:23 pm | Updated Date: Sep 26, 2016 09:59 pm