United Nations: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated on Thursday that Indo-Pak dialogues would only happen if Pakistan shuns the path of militancy.
Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four-point peace initiative, Swaraj said, “we do not need four points, we need just one – give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.”
Addressing the General Assembly in Hindi, Swaraj said the international community should make countries aiding, arming and protecting terrorists pay a heavy price.
Speaking of “the challenges that we face in our ties with Pakistan,” Swaraj referred to the terrorism threat from it and the impunity it grants terrorists like the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“None of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of statecraft” she said. “The world shared our outrage at the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which citizens of many nations were helplessly butchered. That the mastermind behind the attack is walking free is an affront to the entire international community”, she regretted.
“Not only have past assurances in this regard not been honoured but new cross-border terrorist attacks have taken place recently, in which two terrorists from across the border have also been captured alive,” she added.
“We all know that these attacks are meant to destabilize India and legitimize Pakistan’s illegal occupation of parts of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and its claim on the rest of it.”
The world should have a zero tolerance for terrorism, Swaraj said, adding, “the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism can no longer be held up. Nor can we be held hostage by seeking to define terrorism when the General Assembly in 2006 adopted the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy unanimously.”
“Member states must undertake their obligations to investigate and prosecute those who are alleged to have supported terrorism,” she said.
Giving up terrorism “was precisely what was discussed and decided by the two prime ministers at Ufa this July,” Swaraj said. “Let us hold talks at the level of NSAs (National Security Advisers) on all issues connected to terrorism and an early meeting of our Directors General of Military Operations to address the situation on the border.”
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future
India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.
The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.
“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.
“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”
Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.
The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.
The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.
Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.
It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.
The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.
Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.
On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.
“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”
It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.
“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS