Pakistan’s campaign on Kashmir at the UN has fallen flat and Islamabad has been isolated in a world focused on the horrors of terror, according to senior Indian officials basking in the afterglow of what they see as a diplomatic victory.
Terrorism is a primary concern for countries around the world and of the about 131 countries that have spoken as of Friday morning at the UN General Assembly summit, “90 per cent” raised the issue and its dangers and 130 did not mention the issue that Pakistan raked up, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, told reporters here.
Answering a question about the isolation of Pakistan, he said: “Diplomacy is the art of the possible” and asked: “Are you seeing any other countries raising the issues Pakistan has?”
Following a sustained diplomatic campaign, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke extensively on Wednesday at the Assembly on Kashmir.
He appealed for UN and international intervention in the state, a part of which is occupied by his country. In a bid to internationalise it, he called the Kashmir protests as an “intifada,” the Arab term used for the Palestinian uprising, but gained no traction.
He faced a pithy, three-minute rebuttal by a junior diplomat, Eenam Gambhir who raised the possibility that Pakistan may be guilty of war crimes for sponsoring terrorism as an instrument of state policy and ridiculed that country as the host of an “Ivy League” institution for terrorism education.
Sharif’s speech came four days after a terrorist attack on New York and New Jersey by a man connected with links to Pakistan and the week after the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack in New York that killed about 3,000 people.
“That kept the issue of Pakistan’s links to international terror fresh,” Gambhir, a first secretary at the Indian Mission referred to 9/11, noting that force behind the attack was found in Abottabad in Pakistan.
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Every leader that M.J. Akbar, the Minister of State for External Affairs, met on the sidelines of the Assembly session condoled the recent terrorist attack on the Indian army base in Uri, Akbaruddin said.
India being a victim of terrorism has found resonance around the world, he said.
As an example of this, he said that at the meeting with leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) – a region geographically far from India – the participants expressed their sympathies to India for the recent terrorism killings and spoke of their concern over the rise of terrorism.
When the leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation met at a luncheon, Akbar raised the terrorism issue and thanked those who condoled India’s victims.
Nawaz’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz was at the luncheon but there were no direct contacts between them, according to diplomats who were familiar with the luncheon.
On fighting international terrorism, Akbaruddin said that India was pushing for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), that has been languishing for two decades since New Delhi formally proposed it at the UN.
He said that most of the issues have been resolved, including the definition of terrorism and the outstanding issues related to exceptions to terrorism, with some opposing them as they feel it could weaken the pact, he said.
He said that there was enough support to get it passed if it was put to vote without waiting for unanimity and that is an option that India keeps open, he said.