Sushma Swaraj To Address UN Today; Strong Response To Pakistan Expected

NEW YORK: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will today address the UN General Assembly and is expected to deliver a stinging response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech last week in which he had focused on Kashmir and glorified Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

Ms Swaraj, who arrived in New York on Saturday, is expected to speak after 7:20 pm (India time) today.

The minister’s speech is expected to take forward India’s effort to diplomatically isolate Pakistan after terrorists from that country attacked an Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri, killing 18 soldiers last week.

India will not forget Uri, Prime Minister Naredra Modi said in a strong message to Pakistan over the weekend, warning, “The sacrifice of our 18 soldiers will not be forgotten. We will ensure that the international community works to isolate you.”

He accused Pakistan of exporting terror and its leaders of reading out “speeches written by terrorists.”

In its Right of Reply to Mr Sharif’s 20-minute speech at the UNGA, India 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.

Outlining India’s focus for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session, India’s envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin had said that terrorism is the “primary concern” for India as well as for nations across the world.

He listed reform of the UN Security Council, sustainable development, climate change and peacekeeping as other priorities for India in the current UNGA session.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters on Friday that “the whole world and the entire nation” is waiting to hear from Sushma Swaraj who will deliver India’s “vision document” for the 71st UNGA.

“We are all looking forward to that,” he had said. He, however did not elaborate on elements of Ms Swaraj’s address but said “the whole world and the entire country is waiting to hear what the External Affairs Minister has to say.

Mr Swarup said one can also expect “a continued focus from India on the theme of terrorism which is today undoubtedly the single biggest challenge to international peace and security”.