Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj did not let go of the opportunity of sending a stern message to Pak while being present in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly session. Participating in the SAARC ministers’ meet held there she declared terrorism to be the stumbling block in achieving peace and stability in South Asia and without this regional co-operation was difficult to be achieved.
Elaborating further she pointed to the rising incidence of terrorist acts that posed a threat to the security of the region. She felt that terrorism was the root cause of instability and violence in the South Asian region and in fact, the entire world. It was, therefore, utmost essential for us to strike at this root cause which was manifesting before the world in varied forms and strike at its very origin. This was an indirect hint aimed at Pakistan by the foreign minister while addressing the foreign ministers of SAARC.
Talking toughly, Sushma Swaraj continued that no results would be achieved by merely holding meetings at even topmost levels if the firm declarations of establishing peace were not implemented from the grass-root levels. Her talk assumed great importance in the context of India refusing to hold talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir killings wherein three policemen and one soldier lost their lives.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan had requested for the meeting of the two ministers through a letter to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, secondary to the United Nations General Assembly session. After the initial acceptance, India refused the meet the next day after the occurrence of the killings and attempt by Pakistan for releasing stamps of terrorist Burhan Wani, slain in Kashmir by Indian security forces in 2016. The stamps were to be released with a view to glorifying him. The two ministers avoided crossing each other’s paths on Thursday.
Sushma Swaraj’s exit from the venue before Pakistan’s foreign minister could comment was construed wrongly by him as he remarked that India remained the sole obstacle hindering SAARC’s progress. Leaving the meeting before its completion according to him signified lack of positive interest on the part of India or it could be that she felt unwell.
Mr. Qureshi’s statements were quashed by Indian officials as groundless and untrue. They clarified that Sushma Swaraj had associated herself in depth with a number of projects related to SAARC and she was totally committed to ensuring that SAARC became a successful regional group. Expressed regret at the remarks made by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister the sources stated that they were inappropriate and surprising. They stated that besides Sushma Swaraj leaving the meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Afghanistan had also exited; in fact, they had done so before her exit. Exiting after the delivery of her speech was in the normal course of routine as she had other bilateral appointments to attend.
Reacting to India’s refusal to hold talks between the foreign ministers Pakistani Prime Minister had resorted to Twitter expressing his disappointment at the arrogance and negativity on the Indian government’s part to his call for fresh peace talks. He stated that he had very often encountered narrow-minded men holding big offices who failed to see the broader picture.