UNITED NATIONS: Indian External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday that terrorism and talks can’t go hand in hand, replying to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four-point peace plan to boost relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
“Pakistan PM gave four suggestions. I should tell him that they are redundant. Only one thing is important: give up terrorism and sit at the talks table,” Swaraj said, addressing the United Nations general assembly in New York.
Addressing the forum, Sharif said a day ago that Pakistan and India must respect a 2003 understanding for a ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir. He said the two countries should reaffirm not to resort to force or use the threat of force under any circumstances, which was a “central element of the UN charter”.
The two countries must take steps to demilitarise Kashmir, he said, while proposing his four-point peace formula. Sharif also said the two countries must agree to an “unconditional mutual withdrawal” from Siachen, which has been called the world’s highest battleground.
Repeated ceasefire violations along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir have added to the tension between the two neighbours at a time India-Pakistan ties are going through a phase of chill, especially after the cancellation of NSA-level talks over differences in the agenda. The August 24 talks between Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval were cancelled after Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit invited Kashmiri separatists to a tea reception.
“If they give a positive response, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through bilateral dialogue,” Swaraj said.
Harping on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demand for the expansion of the UN security council, Swaraj said “if security, development and international peace is to be maintained, then security council needs to be reformed”.
“We have to include more developing nations in the decision making structures of the security council,” Swaraj said.