Swaraj set to address UNGA; strong response to Pakistan expected

UNENDING TALKS, UNCEASING CONFLICTS External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj | PTI

All eyes are on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as she is set to address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Swaraj is expected to take up the issue of terrorism and give a strong response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's comments on Kashmir on the same platform.

MEA officials in New York confirmed that Swaraj’s speech would be around 7 pm IST. India has launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan after a terror attack on an army camp at Uri, in which 18 soldiers were killed.

Swaraj will take forward the government's efforts to muster global support in isolating Pakistan over the issue of terrorism. The tension between the two countries has escalated after the Uri attack with New Delhi accusing Islamabad of felicitating infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control.

Earlier, speaking at UNGA, Sharif had said that Pakistan fully supported Kashmiris' right to self-determination and demanded an "independent enquiry" into the "extrajudicial killings" in the Valley.

He had even said that Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, whose killing on July 8 sparked off the current unrest in the Valley, had become "the symbol of the new Kashmiri intifada that was led by common Kashmiris".

Sharif's speech had drawn strong reactions from India with Eenam Gambhir, first secretary in the permanent mission of the country to the UN, called Pakistan home to the "Ivy League of Terrorism" and a "terrorist state" that commits "war crimes" by using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

On Saturday, addressing a BJP rally at Kozhikode in Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also lashed out at Pakistan saying the death of soldiers at Uri would not go in vain. Accusing Pakistan of exporting terrorism, Modi said leaders in the neighbouring country are reading out speeches written by terrorists, an apparent dig at Sharif's speech at UNGA.

“The rulers of Pakistan should listen to this. The sacrifice made by our 18 jawans will not go in vain,” a visibly angry and aggressive Modi said.

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