Terror as state policy is war crime, Shah tells Pakistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah at the BJP National Council Meeting in Kozhikode on Sunday.  

The BJP on Sunday reinforced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Pakistan, with party president tabling a statement on the terrorist attack on Uri, positing it as one in a decade-and-a-half of terror strikes against India by Pakistan.

BJP president Amit Shah described Pakistan as a country that follows terrorism as “state policy” which he said should be treated as a war crime.

The statement was put before the National Council of the BJP, where it was endorsed by the 1700 delegates present, without discussion and with a show of hands.

Strategic response

Mr. Shah’s statement has set the political line to be followed by the BJP, that has been feeling the heat of popular anger after 18 Army men were killed in Uri in a terror strike. The statement is also significant for it places the attack in Uri in a continuum of terror strikes that require a long-term strategic response rather than a precipitate one.

“This is a long fight that has been thrust on us by Pakistan. But those who think that the attack on Uri is in any way a decisive one, are mistaken,” he said. The party had “zero tolerance” for terrorism, and so did the BJP-ruled Central government. “Pakistan is today openly supporting and sponsoring terrorism as state policy. India has been a long-time victim of this policy. In the last decade and a half we have endured several major and minor terrorist attacks, the latest being Uri,” he said.

“If terrorism becomes the instrument of state policy then it needs to be described as no less than a war crime. Pakistan is today openly supporting and sponsoring terrorism as a state policy,” he said. “The speech of Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan at the UNO is a testimony to the fact that Pakistan is openly advocating terrorism in the world,” Mr. Shah said in his statement.

Grim situation

Earlier, in his president address to the BJP National Council he referred to the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. “The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been grim, for the past couple of months. Separatists have organised an agitation in the State. I want to repeat that Kashmir is an integral part of India. We believe in dialogue and peace. But dialogue will happen only with those who work within the confines of the Indian Constitution. There will be no dialogue with those who do not believe in the Constitution of India,” he said.

He said combating terror was an ongoing process. “As a result of the strategic and aggressive response from the Central government 117 terrorists have been neutralised in the last 8 months. It is comparatively very high in the recent past. In the last 8 months terrorists have attempted 17 times to violate our borders and infiltrate into India which was successfully foiled by our security forces. The Uri attack is a result of their frustration only. It is a long-drawn battle thrust on us by our neighbour. Uri is a temporary setback, the final victory will be ours. The Prime Minister has promised that the perpetrators shall not go unpunished,” Mr. Shah said.

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