"People living in glass houses should not throw stones," said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday. It was aimed directly at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Balochistan as an issue was brought on to the international forum for the first time by India. Swaraj sent the ball deep with a statement that for India’s goodwill all it got from Pakistan was a string of terror attacks. The link was established. She called on the world to join in the fight because terror was global. It's your battle too — Brussels and Paris and Istanbul.
The one statement that stood out was her clear submission that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India and would stay so.
Speaking at the UN is usually important just for the record. It is forever and you get quoted. It is also hard work and you have anything but a captive audience. The toothless gaps in the General Assembly make it tough to gain attention. There is a great deal of movement and dissenters stage walkouts at strategic moments just to break the rhythm in case a certain level of interest has been piqued.
The applause you get is about the level of a child’s recital in a drawing room. She did get the issue of the international forum through the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) back on track.
It was sober, straight and honest, and she has sent out a message of a diplomatic offensive.
If the aim was to undo any damage caused by Sharif in his address last week it was not even called for. Sharif’s address was not memorable and is pretty much water under the bridge having gained very little international traction. She simply drenched him with contempt which was good.
But what was missing in this opportunity was the lack of an agenda again and no clear warning that whether India received global support or not, it would not accept any more incursions.
Let us agree that she has set into motion a call that the world has to make a decision about Pakistan and that India will continue to try and isolate it.
Swaraj started off providing a gist of the successes of the BJP government and then segued seamlessly into a general diatribe against terrorism and stated much of the obvious about their killing innocents. Opening the door and firing the first salvo from the shoulders of the Afghanistan speech last week she asked guilelessly that who was it that armed them and gave them refuge and support?
Then she went into a generalised call for togetherness on the issue and asked for a recognition of terror sponsors and a dismissal of their membership from the comity of nations, done through a plea to the UN to clear the decks for the anti-terrorism treaty and put ‘erring nations’ out of business.
Finally, she made an attempt for the jugular and mentioned both Pakistan and Balochistan and took on the contents of the Nawaz Sharif speech. But before she could actually pile on the pressure and stress the point of the neighbour being the villain she went off the burner to praise PM Narensra Modi and his initiatives and then again strayed into a precis of atrocities against India.
In all the fluff some solids nuggets of strength and determination.
Maybe we are not taking it lying down after all.
Here's Sushma Swaraj's speech at the UNGA in English:
Published Date: Sep 26, 2016 21:39 PM | Updated Date: Sep 26, 2016 22:08 PM