India on Thursday rejected Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four-point peace proposal, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj telling the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) that Pakistan must “give up terrorism” if it wanted to improve ties. “Instead of four proposals, we need only one point: that Pakistan end support to terror groups,” Ms. Swaraj said.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sharif had told the UNGA that Pakistan had tried to reach out to India, and proposed formalising the ceasefire, demilitarising Kashmir and the Siachen Glacier, and agreeing to end the use of force.
Responding to Mr. Sharif, Ms. Swaraj said India wanted to go ahead with talks, but in an atmosphere free from terror and violence. For this, she said, India wanted National Security Advisor-level talks on “all issues related to terrorism”, followed by a meeting of Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries. “If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through bilateral dialogue.”
Addressing the UNGA in Hindi, Ms. Swaraj called on the world to unite on the challenge of terror, saying that the U.N. must pass the Comprehensive Convention on International Terror in the current 70th year of the world body. Taking another swipe at Pakistan, she said the world should oppose all countries which “finance, train, and support terror groups”. She accused Pakistan of allowing the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to “roam free”, and said that country continued to send terrorists into India, two of whom were arrested recently in Jammu and Kashmir. In an answer to Mr. Sharif’s allegations of “foreign occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir, Ms. Swaraj said that cross-border attacks were meant to “legitimise Pakistan’s illegal occupation” of Kashmir.
The emphasis on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir marks a new move by India, to move the debate over the Kashmir dispute to discuss PoK rather than the Kashmir Valley. The move has been accompanied by a slew of videos showing alleged police atrocities in PoK and anti-Pakistan protests, that were made available to various television channels this week. “This is definitely a shift from our earlier diffident position, where we were on the defensive on Kashmir,” said former diplomat Vivek Katju on a television debate on Thursday.
Ms. Swaraj’s comments came after India’s point-by-point rebuttal earlier in the day, when the Permanent Mission of India exercised its right of reply to Mr. Sharif. In the statement, India had called Pakistan a “prime sponsor of terrorism” and “a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists”.