THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has “disappointed” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who feels that all the Pakistan bashing in New York was aimed at the BJP voters. His other objection to her speech on Saturday was that it didn’t portray India in a good light.
“One can fully appreciate and welcome some of the things that Sushma ji said, but some other things were actually disappointing,” Mr Tharoor said.
The Kerala lawmaker said that Ms Swaraj’s scathing attack on Pakistan was aimed at sending out a message to her party’s voters. The country votes for the new government next year and there are several state elections till the mega national election.
“We get the sense that everything is about the political environment in India and this was a speech aimed at the BJP voters and sending a message to them particularly on the subject of Pakistan rather than projecting a positive and constructive image of India in the world,” the Congress leader added.
Ms Swaraj had lashed out at Pakistan for “harbouring terrorists” and “masking malevolence with duplicity”. She rejected the neighbouring nation’s charge that India was shying away from talks and clarified it was impossible to speak to a nation where proclaimed terrorist Hafiz Saeed roams freely.
“We have not sabotaged negotiations with Pakistan. We began talks with them because we believed it necessary. They were stalled only because of Pakistan’s own behaviour,” she said.
She emphasised that India wants peace and after Imran Khan came to power in Pakistan, their request for talks was accepted. “But within hours, they killed three of our policemen in Kashmir,” she said.
Pakistan accuses India of rights violations, but terrorists are “bigger violators”, the External Affairs Minister said.
“Pakistan glorifies killers, refuses to see the blood of innocents, and then throws the dust of deceit on India to cover its own guilt,” she said.
She referred to the manner in which al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was provided “safe haven” in Pakistan to allege its duplicity in fighting terror.
She signed off with a message to Pakistan that it was “heartening” that the world doesn’t believe that country anymore.
Pakistan dismissed her charges as “baseless” and accused India of choosing politics over peace.
“India and Pakistan were supposed to meet on the sidelines of the UNGA, but its Narendra Modi government called off dialogue for the third time on flimsy grounds,” said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the UNGA.