Terror, talks can’t go together: Sushma

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India-Pakistan relations are “jatil” (complicated) and talks and terrorism cannot go together, external affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday.

But she told the media that there was “sehejta” (simplicity) in the chemistry involving Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. “This warmth and simplicity in relations between two Prime Ministers were never there in the past,” she said.

While pursuing with the commitment for friendship, the government won’t compromise on issues of national security. India, she said, remained firm in its resolve that talks and terrorism cannot go together. The minister denied that South Asia was not getting adequate priority in the Modi government’s foreign policy. “In the last two years, India has emerged as a strong supporter and a friend in crisis to neighbouring countries,” she said, referring to New Delhi’s help to Nepal during the massive earthquake of 2015.

Sushma Swaraj said that she had categorically conveyed India’s concerns to China that ambiguity on the likes of Maulana Masood Azhar and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi were creating obstructions in global fight against terrorism.  She said China has been categorically told about India’s stand on the issue even as she claimed overwhelming support to India’s position on terror menace even from the Gulf region.

“Let us not say good terrorists or bad terrorists; or my terrorists and your terrorists. A terrorist does not act against any one country, he acts against humanity,” Sushma Swaraj said. She said the issue has been flagged off by India in the trilateral talks between Russia, India and China (RIC) and China has been conveyed New Delhi’s stand separately.

“I had raised the issue with China and told them publicly also that sitting in the UN 1267 committee on Azhar and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (Lashkar-e-Taiba) is an obstruction in global fight against terrorism,” she said. In April this year in Moscow, Sushma Swaraj had also raised the issue of China blocking India’s bid to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Azhar as a terrorist at the UN with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a bilateral meeting.

Sushma Swaraj claimed there has been overwhelming global endorsement to India’s firm stand on terrorism and even Gulf countries have shared New Delhi’s vision on the global menace. “Those Gulf countries who had never defined any individual in the past are now ready to do so. This is a big support to our stand and everyone seems to agree that there should not be any attempt to distinguish between bad terrorists and good terrorists,” she said.

On the issue of threats to Hindus in Bangladesh, she said the Sheikh Hasina govermment had been taking adequate steps and had so far arrested as many as 3,000 suspects. “More than that, I feel happy to say that even Islamic leaders in Bangladesh have condemned such threats to Hindus in that country,” she said.

 

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