India on Friday hit back at Pakistan for once again raising the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the 75th United Nations General Assembly and accused Islamabad of peddling “another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, war mongering”. New Delhi said Pakistan’s only crowning glory was “70 years of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism, and clandestine nuclear trade”.
At the UN gathering of world leaders, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused India of trying to cement control in Kashmir, and called the Narendra Modi government a sponsor of hatred and prejudice against Islam, according to Al Jazeera.
“The one country in the world today where, I am sad to say, the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India,” Khan said in a recorded speech to the UNGA, which is being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic. “The reason behind this is RSS ideology that unfortunately rules India today. They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens.”
Khan added that there could be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was resolved on the basis of international legitimacy. “Pakistan has always called for a peaceful solution,” he added, according to NDTV. “To this end, India must rescind the measures it has instituted since August 5 in 2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Following this, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Mijito Vinito walked out of the General Assembly hall in protest. TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, tweeted that the country would use the “Right to Reply” facility to give a “befitting response” to Khan’s statements.
India responded by calling Khan’s remarks “a new low” in diplomacy. “This Hall heard the incessant rant of someone who had nothing to show for himself, who had no achievements to speak of, and no reasonable suggestion to offer to the world,” Vinito said as the two countries traded rebuttals. “Instead, we saw lies, misinformation, warmongering and malice spread through this assembly.”
The Indian diplomat reiterated that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. “The rules and legislation brought in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are strictly internal affairs of India,” he added. “The only dispute left in Kashmir relates to the part of Kashmir that is still under illegal occupation of Pakistan.”
In his speech, Khan had urged the international community to intervene in the Kashmir dispute. “The international community must investigate these grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity,” Khan said, according to AP.
But Vinito wondered if Khan was referring to himself. “The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed,” the Indian diplomat said. “But, as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?”
Vinito added that Khan was the same leader who “who spewed venom today, admitted in 2019 in public in the US that his country still has about 30,000-40,000 terrorists who have been trained by Pakistan and have fought in Afghanistan and in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“The only crowning glory that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism, and clandestine nuclear trade,” he said.
Such exchanges between the countries have been common at recent UN General Assembly meetings. On September 22, India had again rejected Pakistan’s remark at the United Nations that the Kashmir conflict was one the “most glaring and long-standing” disputes, saying that Islamabad should focus on the “unfinished” task of tackling terrorism.
New Delhi’s long-held position has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there is no question of any mediation or intervention by any third party. But Pakistan wants the UN to play a role in resolving the issue and has repeatedly tried seeking the world body’s intervention.
In August, the United Nations Security Council discussed Kashmir at Pakistan’s request for the third time since the Centre decided to end the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 a year ago. The meeting was convened by China.