'Kashmir is part of India, hope message is loud and clear'

Kashmir is part of India, hope message is loud and clear Activists from the Congress Party shout anti-Pakistan slogans and hold the national flag during a protest against Pakistan in Jammu | AFP

In a sharp rebuttal to Pakistan, India said at the UN that it hoped the "message is loud and clear" that Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.

India's First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN Eenam Gambhir on Monday evening again delivered a short and cutting reply to Pakistan's UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi, who said in her right of reply that Jammu and Kashmir "never was and can never be an integral part of India".

Gambhir, who was chosen to deliver India's stinging reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's UN address last week, said in response to Lodhi's statement: "And finally, it appears that the distinguished representative of Pakistan did not hear what our Minister of External Affairs said - that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always continue to do so. We hope the message is loud and clear."

Gambhir, who has been feted in Indian media for the calm and composed manner of her speech delivery, said that the Pakistani envoy's speech were the "views of a dysfunctional state which builds atrocity upon atrocity on its own people preaching about values of tolerance, democracy and human rights. We reject entirely these sermons".

She said Lodhi's Right to Reply to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech was aimed to "divert attention from the country's continued sponsorship of terror" and described her remarks on the Kashmir unrest as "fanciful and misleading".

"Can the representative of Pakistan clarify how the terror sanctuaries and safe havens in her country continue to flourish despite the Pakistan army's much-vaunted counter terrorism operations, and the billions of dollars of international counter terrorism aid it obtains? Can the representative of Pakistan confirm that they do not use terrorist proxies and export terrorism as a matter of state policy?," Gambhir said.

Taking on Pakistan for its past assurance to India, Gambhir said: "Can the Representative deny that Pakistan has assured in 2004 that it will not allow its territory to be used for terror attacks against India, and can the representative of Pakistan deny that Pakistan has failed to deliver on the assurance given at the highest level."

Referring to the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation, she asked if Pakistan can deny that its armed forces committed "one of the most extensive and heinous genocides in 1971, and will it deny it used air strikes and artillery on its own people repeatedly."

Gambhir asked the Pakistani envoy to explain why that country's civil society is being "silenced by a plethora of heavily armed militias that go by names such as ‘Jaish' or Army, ‘Lashkar' or Army, ‘Sipah' or Soldiers and ‘Harkat' or Armed movement".

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