United Nations, Sep 28: Amid lowered expectations from his upcoming meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday served a stern warning to its neighbour to shun terrorism to make peace.
Using strong language, he reasserted what he had told President Barack Obama at their Friday summit about Pakistan being the “epicentre of terrorism” and how little progress could be expected in peace talks without a shut down of Pakistan’s “terrorist machinery”.
“State-sponsored cross-border terrorism is of particular concern to India, (also) on account of the fact that the epicentre of terrorism in our region is located in our neighbourhood in Pakistan,” said the Indian leader addressing the UN General Assembly.
Noting that Sharif speaking at the same forum Friday had spoken of “making a new beginning”, Manmohan Singh said he reciprocated the Pakistani leader’s sentiments, and looked forward to meeting him Sunday.
“India is committed sincerely to resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through bilateral dialogue on the basis of the Simla Agreement,” he said.
“However, for progress to be made, it is imperative that the territory of Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilised for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India,” Manmohan Singh said.
The Indian Prime Minister’s warning to Pakistan came even as Sharif made some conciliatory remarks to an Indian TV channel about how dialogue process between the two neighbours should not be derailed because of the “extremely unfortunate” Thursday’s terror strike in Jammu.
Sharif, who would be meeting Manmohan Singh for the first time Sunday told NDTV that increased tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) were a matter of concern and he would propose a joint mechanism or an independent mechanism to monitor the LoC.
Saying that two countries need to pick up the threads that were broken in 1999 when he was overthrown in a coup by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Sharif said he would also invite Manmohan Singh to pay a “long overdue” visit to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, inside the assembly chamber, Manmohan Singh calling upon the world community “to renew our commitment, especially here at the UN, for concerted, cohesive and continuing global action against terrorism,” said “there can be no tolerance for states sheltering, arming, training or financing terrorists”.
“Nor can they absolve themselves of the responsibility to prevent their territories from being used to launch acts of terrorism,” Manmohan Singh said in another stern warning to Pakistan.
“The increasingly complex challenges to international peace and security require a new international consensus to be built, whether it is in cyber security, non-proliferation or terrorism,” he said.
Manmohan Singh’s message to Sharif, who had raised the Kashmir issue yet again in an annual ritual at the UN Friday, was loud and clear.
“There must be a clear understanding of the fact Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that there can never, ever, be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India,” he said.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)