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India ready to engage with Pakistan in ‘atmosphere free of terrorism, violence’

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United Nations: India told the General Assembly that it is ready to engage with Pakistan on outstanding issues in “an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence.”

Exercising the right of reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements about India on Wednesday, Indian diplomat Abhishek Singh said the Kashmir dispute remains unresolved and the dialogue between the two countries has stalled “because Pakistan has chosen to disregard its commitments, whether it was under the 1972 Simla Agreement, the 2004 Joint Declaration forswearing terrorism, or more recently, the understanding between our two Prime Ministers at Ufa.”

“On each occasion,” he added, “it was India that has extended the hand of friendship.”

At the heart of the problem, Singh said “is a state that regards the use of terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world watches with concern as its consequences have spread beyond its immediate neighbourhood. ”

“All of us stand prepared to help, if only the creators of this monster wake up to the dangers of what they have done to themselves,” he added.

Sharif, in his address to the General Assembly, repeatedly raised the Kashmir issue. He claimed it was an occupied territory, spoke about the firings along the Line of Control in the state, and suggested demilitarising Kashmir.

Singh, a First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN, said India regretted that Pakistan “has once again chosen to misuse the High Level Segment of the UN General Assembly Session to distort reality and portray a false picture of the challenges in our region.”

Singh said that while Kashmir was under foreign occupation, “the occupier in question is Pakistan.”

As for the border incidents, Singh said, “The primary reason for firing is to provide cover to terrorists crossing the border. It needs no imagination to figure out which side initiates this exchange.”

As for Pakistan’s claims to be the primary victim of terrorism, he said, “In truth, it is actually a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists. Seeking to mask its activities as though an outcome of domestic discontent in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir carries no credibility.”

Explaining India’s reservations about the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Singh said that it was because it passes through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan.

(By Atul Louis, IANS)

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Fight Against Terrorism: Iran, Pakistan Agree To Set Up Joint Border ‘Reaction Force’

Stressing that "no third country" could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

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Pakistan
Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reviewing an honor guard in Tehran on April 22. RFERL

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism, Iranian state media reported.

“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.

The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

“Pakistan will not allow any militant group to operate” from its soil, Khan said at the press conference while adding that the problem of terrorism was “increasing differences” between both countries.

“So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue,” Khan said.

Pakistan
The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month. Pixabay

Citing a militant attack on Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan on April 18, he said, Pakistan’s security chief will be meeting his Iranian counterpart on April 22 to discuss how both countries can cooperate in not allowing their soil to be used by militant groups.

Stressing that “no third country” could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

For his part, Khan said his visit to Tehran aimed to “find ways to increase trade and cooperation…in energy and other areas,” noting that two-way trade was “very limited.”

Khan arrived in Iran on April 21 on his first official visit to the Islamic republic for talks set to focus on strengthening bilateral ties, “fighting terrorism, and safeguarding borders,” Iranian state media reported.

The two countries have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

The two-day trip started with a stopover in the holy city of Mashhad, where Khan visited the shrine of Imam Reza, who is revered by Shi’ite Muslims.

The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 20 that 15 gunmen wearing military uniforms ambushed a bus in southwestern Balochistan Province on April 18, killing 14 Pakistani Army personnel.

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“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day. Pixabay

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the Iranian government that the assailants came from an alliance of three Baluch terrorist organizations based in Iran.

Qureshi told reporters that Khan would take up the matter with Iranian authorities.

Earlier this year, Iran called on Pakistan to take action against a militant group behind a deadly attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

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Twenty-seven IRGC members were killed in the February suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in southeastern Iran. (RFERL)