Akbaruddin said “poison pens” don’t work for too long.
New Delhi/New York: India’s permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said on Friday that India will “soar high” if “Pakistan stoops low by raking up the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly” session. Warning that Islamabad, which mainstreamed terrorism in the past, may mainstream hate speech now — an obvious reference to the anticipated rant by Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Kashmir at the UNGA session on September 27, Mr Akbaruddin said “poison pens” don’t work for too long.
Meanwhile, in what is expected to be a development of some concern to India, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres may raise the Kashmir issue and the human rights situation in the Valley during discussions at the high-level UN General Assembly session that begins next week, his spokesperson said. Mr Guterres earlier emphasised that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan was an “absolute essential element” for reaching a solution on Kashmir, and said his good offices were available should both sides ask for it and called for full respect of human rights.
At a press conference in New York on Thursday, Mr Akbaruddin said: “We explained to you what is our approach and what is our orientation and how we are working very differently from our previous experiences. But there may be somebody who is wanting to bring an issue which they have raised before... Your question further is that what if they become more shrill, what if they raise it in a much sharper manner.” The comment was made while responding to a question on whether he expects J&K to be raised in the UN General Assembly session and how India would tackle it.
“What you’re telling me is that it will be more of the same, much more of the same from the side of one country. If that is so, what is our response? So let me put it this way. That it is for every country to determine its trajectory of how it wants to approach global platforms. There may be some who stoop low. Our response to them is that we soar high. They may stoop low, we soar high,” Mr Akbaruddin said.
Mr Akbaruddin, who spelt out the focus and priorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrives for the 74th UN General Assembly session, said a plethora of plurilateral and bilateral engagements and meetings next week highlight how India will soar higher.
“What they want to do is their call. We’ve seen them mainstream terrorism in the past. And what you’re now telling me is they may want to mainstream hate speech. It’s their call, if they want to do that. Poison pens don’t work for too long,” he said, referring to Pakistan.
UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, during the daily press briefing at UNHQ on Thursday, said the UN chief had underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue, and “as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Guterres had said: “Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. On the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained.”
In another development, India’s ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla attacked Pakistan on the Kashmir issue in a hard-hitting opinion piece in the New York Times on Thursday.
The prospect for a more prosperous Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, after the abrogation of Article 370, “cuts the ground under the feet of Pakistan”, a country whose “fingerprints” are on terrorist strikes across the world, he wrote.
Mr Shringla said Pakistan has a “vested interest in preventing prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Ladakh area of Kashmir, because a weak economy fuels separatist sentiments in some quarters”.
“This fits into Pakistan’s larger strategy of using terror as a political tool. This is a country whose fingerprints are on terrorist strikes across the world and that was home to Osama bin Laden in his last days. So it also opposes the repeal of Article 370, which legitimised discrimination and hindered economic progress,” Mr Shringla said in response to a recent op-ed published by Pakistan PM Imran Khan in the American daily.