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

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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