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UN should do more to send right message to terror groups: India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the UN should do more to send the right message to terror groups, India has said that the inconsistent implementation of sanctions on some of the terrorist outfits eats away at the UN’s authority.”The United Nations must do more to send the right message. Inconsistent implementation of sanctions on some of these terrorist outfits eats away at the UN’s authority and needs to be addressed,” Indian Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said in his address to the UN General Assembly. “The leader of the Taliban – a proscribed entity – needs to be designated as a terrorist individual. The international community is impatient for action,” the Indian diplomat said.Earlier this week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani himself asked a delegation of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to include the new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah (Akhundzada) and such others, in the list of terrorists. “Unless the Security Council and its subordinate organs are part of a cohesive response to global terrorism they run the risk of becoming marginalised from the most fundamental security priorities of Member States whose fabric is being torn as under by terrorists,” Akbaruddin warned.Addressing the UN General Assembly as it adopted an unanimous resolution on Afghanistan, he said the security challenges faced by the Afghan people and Government have not receded. “We note that Afghanistan, along with the Resolute Support Force, continues to make efforts to combat terrorism,” he said. “However, the shadowy supporters of some of these terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, ISIS, AI-Qaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed have not been deterred, as is reflected in the upwards trend in the toll of causalities,” the diplomat said.The resolution unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly pledged its continued support, in particular as the Afghan Government rebuilt a stable, secure and economically self-sufficient State free from terrorism and narcotics while strengthening the foundations of its constitutional democracy. At the same time, it heard expressions of alarm over recent spikes in civilian casualties and the influence of violent extremists.In her address, Pakistan Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said the presence of large numbers of terrorists, foreign fighters and militant groups in the vast ungoverned areas of Afghanistan presents an imposing challenge to the` long-term stability of the war-torn country. “They pose a threat not only to Afghanistan but also to Pakistan and indeed the entire region. Afghanistan could once again become a source of global terrorism, with grave implications for the region and the world,” Lodhi said. “A dialogue between the Afghan Government and the Afghan Taliban remains the only way to end Afghanistan’s long night of suffering,” she added.

Young Indian lawyer elected to UN’s top body of legal experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant victory, a young Indian lawyer won a hotly-contested election in the UN General Assembly for membership to the world body’s top body of legal experts, garnering the highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group.Aniruddha Rajput, 33, is among the 34 individuals elected by the General Assembly as members of the International Law Commission, the UN organ tasked with the progressive development of international law and its codification.The newly elected members will serve five-year terms of office with the Geneva-based body beginning January 2017.The members have been elected from five geographical groupings of African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean and Western European states.Rajput got 160 votes, topping the Asia Pacific group in voting that was held by way of secret ballot yesterday.Amongst the youngest to be elected to the nearly 70-year old body, Rajput is India’s first time candidate to the Commission, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told PTI.A practicising lawyer of India’s Supreme Court, Rajput is also the first Indian nominee chosen from outside a close circle of lawyers of the Ministry of External Affairs.An alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Rajput was member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study and comment upon the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India, according to his profile submitted to the UN.He has written several books, chapters, articles, conference papers on diverse legal subjects and his areas of expertise in international laws include Sources of International Law, International Arbitration, Law of the Sea, Use of Force, UN Law & Practice and International Trade Law (WTO Law).In response to a congratulatory tweet by Singapore s Ambassador to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor on Rajput s election, Akbaruddin replied, “We are deeply appreciative of support extended by many, many friends of India to ensure Dr Rajput’s election by a huge margin.”Japan’s Shinya Murase got the second highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group at 148, followed by Mahmoud Daifallah Hmoud of Jordan and Huikang Huang of China with 146 votes each, Korea’s Ki Gab Park with 136 votes, Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri of Qatar with 128 votes and Hong Thao Nguyen of Viet Nam with 120 votes.

United Nations headquarters lights up for Diwali for the first time

United Nations: Diwali was commemorated for the first time at the United Nations, with the world body’s imposing headquarters lit up especially on the occasion of the Indian festival of lights.

The facade of the UN headquarters was lit in bright hues and the words ‘Happy Diwali’, along with the image of a traditional ‘diya’, projected onto the building.

“Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

“Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative,” Akbaruddin said in another tweet, thanking General Assembly President Peter Thomson for the initiative.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

He also tweeted a picture of passers-by clicking photographs of the building as well as being themselves clicked against the illuminated UN headquarters in the background.

Thomson also tweeted a picture of the UN building lit up in bright blue for Diwali and said “Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!”

The UN Secretariat building will be lit up for Diwali from 29-31 October.

It is for the first time that the Indian festival of lights is celebrated at the world body after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December, 2014 that acknowledged the “significance of Diwali”.

Noting that the festival is observed in many UN member states, the resolution had called on UN bodies to avoid holding meetings on Diwali, declaring it a no-meeting day.

From 2016 onwards, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN, India’s Permanent Mission to the world body said in a special video message.

Earlier in June, the UN building was lit up on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, with images of Yoga postures projected on the imposing headquarters.

India welcomes Antonio Guterres as next UN Secretary-General

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ndia has welcomed the selection of Portugal’s former premier Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary General to replace Ban Ki-moon at the beginning of next year.”Congratulations & Best wishes. India welcomes Antonio Manuel de Olivera Guterres as next Secretary General of @UN,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.Akbaruddin’s tweet was accompanied with a picture of Guterres shaking hands with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Guterres had met Swaraj during his visit to New Delhi in July this year.Guterres, the 67-year-old former head of UN’s refugee organisation for 10 years, emerged as a leading candidate in all of the Security Council’s straw polls.The 15-nation Council conducted a sixth straw poll yesterday in which Guterres received 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes. None of the five veto-wielding permanent members voted against him, clearing the way for Guterres to become the 9th Secretary General of the UN.”Today after our sixth straw poll we have a clear favourite and his name is Antonio Guterres,” Russia’s envoy to the UN and President of the Council for October Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the straw poll.Flanked by the Permanent Representatives of the 14 Council members, Churkin said the Council will meet again to take a formal vote, which is expected to pass by acclamation.That decision would then be formally submitted to the General Assembly for its consideration.”We wish Guterres well in discharging his duties as the Secretary General of the UN for the next five years,” Churkin said.Churkin also informed President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson that Guterres had emerged as the unanimous choice after the sixth informal and first colour-coded straw poll for the position of Secretary-General.”The President thanked him for the information and said he was ready to further progress the process of appointing the next Secretary-General in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” Thomson’s office said.Ban’s Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at the daily press briefing that the Secretary-General, who is currently in Rome, is aware of the latest developments and will await the official action by the General Assembly on his successor’s formal selection.Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and then served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.After the UNSC formal vote, Guterres’s name will be forwarded to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation.Ban is the 8th Secretary-General in the organisation’s 70-year history. He took office in January 2007 and will be ending his 10-year tenure on December 31, 2016.Guterres’s selection for the post of the world’s top diplomat slashed hopes for a woman to succeed Ban Ki-moon.

Pak epicentre of terrorism but makes baseless claims about Kashmir: Syed Akbaruddin at UN

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN again hit out at Pakistan over their Kashmir claims. He said: “We look away (on the issue of dealing with terrorism) as some amongst us stall our collective efforts, as they use terrorists as proxies in their territorial quests. We have heard one such lone voice a short while ago, making claims to an integral part of India. A country which has established itself as a global epicenter of terrorism. Such claims find no resonance amongst the international community.”Referring to Sharif’s speech at UNGA, he said “Just less than 10 days ago the GA Debate witnessed a singular lack of support for Pakistan’s baseless claims. Need one say more. Abandon your futile quest. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so. No amount of misuse of international fora by Pakistan will change that reality. The sell by date of Pakistan’s anachronistic approach is over.”Pak snub at UNThe UN Security Council has not been discussing the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Russia’s envoy to the UN and Council president for October said, in a clear snub to Pakistan which had raised the Kashmir issue and surgical strike by India in the world body.”I don’t want to go there, don’t want to go there. No no please, I don’t want to go there,” Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said as he quickly interrupted a question on India and Pakistan tensions during a press briefing. Churkin was addressing the media as Russia assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of October.When asked why he would not comment on the issue, Churkin said “because I am President of the Security Council. The Security Council has not been discussing it (the India Pakistan situation). “Sorry sir, I don’t want to go there. No comment, no comment, sorry please,” Churkin said.When asked again why he and Russia were “so reluctant” to discuss the India-Pakistan situation, Churkin said, “I’m sure you know. There are so many other things.” Churkin’s remarks come as a clear snub to Pakistan, which had approached the Security Council just last week on the surgical strikes conducted by India to target terror launch pads across the Line of Control as well as on the Kashmir issue.Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq was asked what the UN position is on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj s remarks in her address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan should “abandon” its Kashmir dream since Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.”We have issued a statement on the situation between India and Pakistan. I would refer you back to that,” Haq said.When asked again why the UN did not “say anything” to Swaraj’s remarks that Pakistan should stop dreaming about Kashmir, Haq said, “We don’t comment on every speech made in the General Assembly, but we have been commenting on the situation on Kashmir, and like I said, we issued a statement on that just last Friday.”Pakistan s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had met New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and had raised the issue of the surgical strikes in “informal consultations” of the Council.She had also met UN Secretary General Ban on the issue but the UN Chief had called on the governments of India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, peacefully through “diplomacy and dialogue”.India s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had last week said that Pakistan approaching the UN Chief and the Security Council over the surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance at the world body.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too had tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue, raising it with almost every world leader he held bilateral talks with on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly last month.

UNGA: Restrained Sushma cracks Balochistan whip, Pak says ‘litany of falsehoods and baseless allegations’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India firmly Pakistan to abandon its “dream” of obtaining Kashmir through terror attacks and asserted that it is an integral part of the country and will always remain so. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, while addressing the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, said, “It (Pakistan) persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets.” “My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so,” she said in her speech. Countering Pakistan’s claims that India has imposed pre-conditions on talks, Swaraj said India got the terror attacks of Pathankot and Uri “in return” for taking the initiative to resolve issues with Islamabad not on the basis of conditions but on friendship.”We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well being. Did all this come with pre-conditions attached,” Swaraj said. “And what did we get in return’ Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri. Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror,” she added. Her speech came just over a week after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in a deadly attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists from across the border on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri.Tharoor backs Swaraj’s speech Hailing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the thrust of the message was ‘a good one and Indians can stand behind it’. Speaking to ANI, Tharoor said, ‘Like all MEA-drafted speeches, I think it was a well-drafted and well-crafted speech. There were a couple of interesting aspects to the speech that are worth bearing in mind. The first that by speaking in Hindi, our Foreign Minister was appealing principally it seemed to the Indian audience and secondarily to a Pakistani audience because there would be no one in the hall apart from these two countries would have understood.’He, however, said the direct message on television was clearly intended for the subcontinent. ‘The balance of the speech was striking. It began with all the global issues and India’s role in them and then situated the Pakistan problem in the context of the global challenge of terrorism. In other words, it is not just India’s problem and it is part of the larger problem that the whole world is facing, and that I thought was a good strong message that India needs to give to the rest of the world, listing the various places that have been attacked by terrorists and saying that unfortunately India too, has been a victim of terrorism,’ he said.Speaking on the response which the External Affairs Minister gave, the Congress MP said that it was ‘interesting’. ‘The statement that ‘Kashmir hamara hai’ was a bit unnecessary. It was clearly meant for the Indian audience. The more important message, I thought, was that as long as Pakistan wants to internationalise the Kashmir as a big issue, we have a far bigger issue to internationalise against Pakistan and that’s terrorism. Pakistan’s connection to terrorism is part of the message that I thought was the most useful for us to convey to the world,’ he said.Balochistan is ‘an internal matter’: PakistanIndia raising Pakistan’s “internal matter” Balochistan in the UN General Assembly is a “blatant violation” of international norms, the Pakistani envoy to the UN said as she described Kashmir not as India’s integral part but an “internationally recognised dispute.” “The Indian FM’ speech is a litany of falsehoods and baseless allegations. The biggest falsehood is that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute. It is the oldest item on the UN agenda.The whole world acknowledges this,” Maleeha Lodhi said in a series of tweets after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address during the 71st session of the UNGA. In another tweet, Lodhi said raising Balochistan, “an internal matter”, is a “blatant violation” of the principles of the UN charter and international norms. Lodhi said it is “untrue” that India imposed no preconditions for talks with Pakistan.”India suspended talks more than a year ago, and has refused to resume these despite repeated offers from Pakistan. The latest offer of talks with India was made by Pakistan’s Prime Minister himself from the rostrum of the General Assembly on 21 September,” Lodhi said in the tweets. Lodhi claimed India is in “denial” about the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. Meanwhile, Pakistani and separatist Kashmiri groups gathered outside the UN, following Swaraj’s address, to protest against the Indian forces in Kashmir. Holding banners and placards, the protesters shouted slogans demanding “freedom” for Kashmir.With inputs from PTI and ANI

‘Sushmaji presented India’s viewpoint very well’: Arvind Kejriwal leads praise for Swaraj’s speech at UNGA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India asked the global community to urgently adopt a long-pending global treaty on terrorism as well as implement the UN Security Council reform, saying the world needs a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism and a Council that is less outdated.Highlighting the two pending tasks of General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said despite the passage of two decades, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was proposed by India in 1996, is yet to be implemented.”…we will be judged by our action and equally by our inaction. What goals have we achieved and what objectives remain unfulfilled?,” she said.”As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention,” she said.On Security Council reform, Swaraj said just as the world needs a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism, there is also need for a Security Council that is less outdated and that continues to reflect the world order of an earlier era.”The vast majority of nations share the belief that the UN should not remain frozen in 1945, just to serve the interests of a few. Whether it is institutions or issues, we must come to terms with present day realities and the challenges that confront us,” she said.Swaraj added that an expansion in the Permanent and non-Permanent membership of the Council to reflect contemporary realities is an urgent necessity.”We must move forward substantively towards text-based negotiations. If both these long pending issues are addressed during your Presidency, the success of this Session will be ensured,” she said.”The 21st century has begun in the shadow of turmoil, but we can turn this into a golden age in the history of civilisation through united and concerted efforts. But what happens tomorrow will depend on what we do today,” she said. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, one of BJP’s most vocal critics led the praise for Swaraj. Here’s how Twitter reacted:

Full text of Sushma Swaraj’s speech slamming Pakistan at UNGA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sharp rebuke to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “tirade” on Kashmir, India said those accusing others of rights violations must introspect as it censured Pakistan for the first time at the UNGA for perpetrating the “worst form of state oppression” in Balochistan. Taking a veiled dig at Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her address at the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) session said there are nations “in our midst” where UN designated terrorists roam freely and deliver “their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity”, an apparent reference to Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.She also made a strong pitch for isolating such nations who speak the language of terrorism and for whom sheltering terrorists has become “their calling card”.Read the full text of speech belowOn behalf of India and on my own behalf, I congratulate you on your election as President of the 71st United Nations General Assembly. Let me also take this opportunity to thank Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for his services to the United Nations, history’s largest peace movement. Mr. President,A year has passed since I stood here at this hallowed podium to address the members of the international community. Since then, much has changed in the world around us – some for the better, some for the worse and much which has been cause of great concern. There can be no better platform to ponder our actions and our achievements over the last year. We must remember that we will be defined not just by our actions, but equally, by our inaction.Mr. President,A number of issues have been debated in this august Assembly – from the necessity of global partnerships in sharing new vaccines and promoting access to affordable drugs to counter anti-microbial resistance, to the need for faster implementation of the Sendai Framework to mitigate the risk of natural disasters. From the challenge of ensuring well-ordered mobility of productive human resources, to the necessity of adequate consultations with Troop Contributing Countries before framing mandates for UN Peacekeeping Operations. But my time is limited. I would therefore, focus only on some of the most pressing issues facing the international community.Mr. President,The true challenge of our time is to end the curse of harsh poverty that still lurks in so many corners of our world; to ensure that the fruits of growing prosperity reach those who need it most; to take forward the mission of gender equality and protect women where there is gender regression; and to ensure peace across boundaries, not least because there can be no prosperity without peace.I congratulate you for the priority you have given to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by making them the theme for the 71st UNGA. I am happy that the 17 goals adopted by this Assembly are matched by the development vision of my Government, which is geared towards the achievement of these same objectives. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Campaign), more than 400,000 toilets have been constructed in schools. The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Educate the Girl Child, Save the Girl Child) programme has become a nation-wide mission. The Make in India brand is receiving international acclaim. Almost 250 million bank accounts have been opened for the poor under the Jan Dhan Yojana, the largest financial inclusion programme the world has ever seen. Digital India is transforming the country. Under the Skill India initiative, a number of programmes are underway to enable youth to reap the demographic dividend. These initiatives have added a new dimension to India’s growth story, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world at a time of slow global growth. Mr. President,We are all aware that 1/6th of humanity lives in India. Therefore global success in realizing SDGs depends on the success achieved in India. We are committed to the wholehearted implementation of the Agenda 2030 as a national effort. We have decided to dedicate one day in each session of our Parliament for discussions only on SDGs. This will enable us to constantly monitor their progress and this will give us good results.However, in a globalised world, national effort needs to be supplemented by international cooperation for the successful implementation of Agenda 2030. Mr. President,Climate change is yet another serious challenge confronting us. There are enough resources on this planet to fulfil everyone’s needs, but not enough to fulfil anyone’s greed, for greed is limitless. In this context PM Modi has championed a new concept – Climate Justice. If we respect nature, nature will respect and nurture us and future generations. But, if we exploit nature mindlessly, then we must be mindful that nature will unleash its fury upon us. In different parts of the world, we have already seen nature drift towards the unnatural – from torrential rain to excessive heat, from tsunamis to storms and cloudbursts.We must curb reckless consumption, and adopt lifestyles in harmony with nature. Yoga, the storehouse of India’s ancient wisdom, epitomises a sustainable lifestyle. Let me record our gratitude for the unprecedented global response to the International Day of Yoga.In the Paris Agreement, the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’ and ‘Respective Capabilities’ has been acknowledged and accepted. This makes clear that while our responsibility is common, obligations are different. Developed nations must discharge their responsibility in the search for the common good, with finance and technology transfer.India has launched an ambitious domestic effort to transform our energy mix to achieve 40% energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. The massive investments required entail a predictable and stable environment towards which we are working actively. Apart from this, our path-breaking initiative for an International Solar Alliance is intended to make efficient solar technology available for all.I assure this Assembly that India will continue to play a leading role in combating climate change. We have decided to submit our Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who epitomised a lifestyle with the smallest carbon footprint. Mr. President,Let me now turn to a subject of the most critical importance, one which deeply concerns every member of this Assembly. This month we marked the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on this city. Tragically, less than 15 days ago, another attempt at killing innocents was made through an act of terror in this same city. We, who have suffered in Uri recently, understand the pain inflicted by the same forces. The world has been battling this scourge for long. However, despite the blood and tears of innocent victims, attacks this year alone in Kabul and Dhaka, Istanbul and Mogadishu, Brussels and Bangkok, Paris, Pathankot and Uri as well as daily barbaric tragedies in Syria and Iraq, remind us that these malevolent forces are yet to be defeated.We must acknowledge that terrorism is undoubtedly the biggest violation of human rights. It targets the innocent and kills indiscriminately. Terrorism has gone way beyond affecting individuals or nations – it is a crime against humanity itself. But it is important to ask – who is behind this and who benefits from it? Terrorists do not own banks or weapons factories, so let us ask the real question: who finances these terrorists, who arms them and provides sanctuaries? We heard similar questions being asked by Afghanistan from this podium. Mr. President,History proves that those who seed extremist ideologies, reap a bitter harvest. The germ of evil has grown into a hydra-headed monster, backed by technological sophistication that threatens the peace and harmony of our world. We will not be able to win against terrorism by making specious distinctions between your problems and mine, between terrorists who attack you and those who attack me. For we do not know who this Frankenstein’s monster will devour next.Therefore if we want to defeat terrorism, there is only one way – that we unite across our differences, add steel to our resolve and inject urgency in our response. We need to forget our prejudices and join hands together to script an effective strategy against terror. This is not an impossible task provided we have the will. We can do it, we must do it. Otherwise our future generations will forever hold us to account. And if any nation refuses to join this global strategy, then we must isolate it.In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account. These nations, in which UN designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations.Mr. President,On 21st September, the Prime Minister of Pakistan used this podium to make baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country. I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan. The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression.Mr. President,The Prime Minister of Pakistan also said that India has placed pre-conditions for talks which are not acceptable to him. What pre-conditions? Did we impose any pre-condition before extending an invitation for the oath-taking ceremony of our Government? Did we impose any pre-condition when I went to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference and agreed to begin the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue? Did we impose any pre-condition when Prime Minister Modi travelled from Kabul to Lahore? What pre-conditions? We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well being. Did all this come with pre-conditions attached?And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri. Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial. It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets. My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so. Mr. President,As I said at the very beginning, we will be judged by our action and equally by our inaction. What goals have we achieved and what objectives remain unfulfilled? I would like to highlight two such pending tasks of this Assembly.The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996. In 2016, despite the passage of two decades, we are yet to come to a conclusion. As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention.Just as we need a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism, we also need a less outdated Security Council that continues to reflect the world order of an earlier era. The vast majority of nations share the belief that the UN should not remain frozen in 1945, just to serve the interests of a few. Whether it is institutions or issues, we must come to terms with present day realities and the challenges that confront us. An expansion in the Permanent and non-Permanent membership of the Council to reflect contemporary realities is therefore, an urgent necessity. We must move forward substantively towards text-based negotiations.Mr. President,If both these long pending issues are addressed during your Presidency, the success of this Session will be ensured. The 21st century has begun in the shadow of turmoil, but we can turn this into a golden age in the history of civilization through united and concerted efforts. But what happens tomorrow will depend on what we do today

Sushma Swaraj slams Pakistan at UNGA: ‘Kashmir was, is and will be part of India’

In a powerful speech at the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj slammed Pakistan for being a terrorist haven. Hitting out at the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistani government, Swaraj said that in exchange of friendship with the neighbouring country, India always got terrorism in return — in the form of Pathankot, Uri and Bahadur Ali.

In response to Pakistan’s constant provocation that Kashmir is an international issue, Swaraj said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India and will always remain a part of India.”

In her rebuttal to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UNGA, she used the idiom, “People living in glass houses should not throw stone at others” and said that brutalities against the people of Balochistan represent the worst form of oppression.

Referring to Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist, she said, “Bahadur Ali is a living example of Pakistan’s cross border terrorism.”

Swaraj appealed to the international community to join the fight against terrorism and said, “Terrorism is the biggest violation of human rights.”

Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs for India, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. PTI

Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs for India, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. PTI

“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account,” she said.

In response to Sharif’s allegation that “India posed unacceptable pre-conditions to engage in dialogue,” Swaraj said, “We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent.” She said despite showing evidence of cross-border terrorism, Pakistan has remained in denial.

Swaraj called for the implementation of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and said, “We are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention.”

External Affairs Minister arrived in New York on 25 September for the UNGA.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Swaraj “for a firm, effective & fine articulation of a wide range of global issues.”

You can watch her entire speech here:

After Sharif’s vitriolic speech, all eyes were on Swaraj and her rebuttal. “The whole world and the entire nation” is waiting to hear from Swaraj, who will deliver India’s “vision document” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said ahead of her speech, reported PTI.

Earlier, 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.

Earlier this week, while Sharif’s tirade against India under right to reply, the Indian diplomatic mission at the UN was also point-blank and called the neighbouring country “Ivy League of terror”.

Moreover, in a three-minute rebuttal, Indian diplomat Eenam Gambhir raised the possibility of Pakistan being guilty of war crimes for sponsoring terrorism as an instrument of state policy and ridiculed the country as the centre for terrorism education.

In his speech at the UN last week, Sharif conveyed to the world community that Pakistan accords martyr status to killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and said, “The men, women and children come out to demand freedom everyday and Pakistan stands with the people of Kashmir.”

The Pakistan prime minister also termed Wani as a symbol of the latest Kashmiri “Intifada.” Playing the victim card, Sharif claimed Pakistan has gone the extra mile to ensure peace with India. However, “India posed unacceptable pre-conditions to engage in dialogue,” he had said.

He also drew attention to the human rights violation in Kashmir and said that Pakistan will share dossier with the UN Secretary General on Indian brutalities in Kashmir and demanded demilitarisation of Kashmir.

Modi on Saturday had said India will totally isolate Pakistan in the international arena for “exporting terror”. He further said that every nation holds one country responsible for terrorism that is providing a safe haven for terrorists.

“Terrorists should hear out clearly that India will never forget the Uri attack…. I want to tell the leadership of Pakistan that the sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain,” Modi had said while addressing a public meeting in Kozhikode on Saturday.

With inputs from agencies

Sushma Swaraj’s speech at United Nations: Timing, live streaming and where to watch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The whole world and the entire nation” is waiting to hear from Swaraj, who will deliver India’s “vision document” for the 71st UNGA, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters. With a focus on tackling terrorism, India will corner Pakistan, which used the world body forum to talk extensively about Kashmir four days ago, for being a “terrorist state”. India made its sharpest attack on Pakistan on Thursday, calling the country home to the “Ivy League of Terrorism” which carries out “war crimes” and pitches for talks with a “gun in its hand”. 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. Swaraj will address the UN general debate and is expected to give a stinging response to Sharif’s speech.”We are all looking forward to that,” Swarup said. He did not elaborate on elements of Swaraj’s address but said “I think the broad themes that Akbaruddin has outlined are definitely going to be a part of our presentation at this most important forum in the international community”. 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”. Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar earlier said glorification of Burhan Wani, commander of the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, by Sharif at the world forum is an act of “self-incrimination” by Pakistan. He had also said it is “shocking” that a leader of a nation can “glorify a self-declared self-advertised terrorist” at a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly after Sharif hailed Wani – who was killed on July 8 by the Indian forces resulting in tensions in the Valley – as a “young leader” and the “symbol” of the Kashmiris’ freedom movement. First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir also made a strong rebuttal to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in Kashmir, saying it is ironical that a country which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism, is preaching human rights and talks about the ostensible support for self-determination. Exercising India’s Right of Reply, she told the UN General Assembly that shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” in the world body, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in Uri that claimed 18 Indian lives.What time is Sushma Swaraj’s speech? The speech is likely to start at 7:30 PM IST. It will depend on the timing of the speeches of earlier leaders. How to watch it. You can watch the livestream below: There’s no doubt Indo-Pak relations have hit a new low since the Uri attack. This was epitomised by Eenam Gambhir’s sharp reubutal to Pak PM Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly where she branded Pakistan the ‘host to the Ivy League of terrorism’. Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir made a strong rebuttal. “What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she said.Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours. She noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.

Enough with the warnings, just act against Pakistan: Sena condemns Modi govt’s diplomatic efforts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning the Narendra Modi-led government’s move to launch a diplomatic war against Islamabad after the dastardly Uri attack, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that the Centre is simply having war of words with Pakistan rather than taking some serious actions against the neighbouring nation.”Solders are losing their lives and we are still busy in giving warning to Pakistan and appreciating our efforts. But the truth is if Pakistan really wants to have war with us then we are also ready,” the Sena said in its editorial, Saamna.The Shiv Sena further asserted that the Centre is talking about isolating Pakistan, but eventually all the supporters of India can be witnessed maintaining their friendship with Islamabad whether it be Russia with its Joint drill, Indonesia which provided Defence equipment or Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) who has extended its support to Pakistan openly and is willing to send Fact finding committee to Kashmir.”No matter how much hue and cry we make to isolate Pakistan after the Uri attack on the international forum, the truth remains that all these efforts are useless. In fact a new fear has cropped up that India might face isolation on the global platform,” the editorial said.The BJP ally emphasised that Pakistan’s statement asserting that the Uri attack took place because of the Kashmir unrest, somehow indicates that they accepted their involvement in the attack.On India’s decision to provide evidence in the United Nations against Pakistan, the Shiv Sena said that since the UN is asserting to resolve the issue bilaterally, then there is no use of providing evidence on this issue.Earlier on Saturday, the Prime Minister launched a scathing attack on Pakistan and said that India would never forget the Uri terror attack and would make all efforts to isolate Islamabad globally.”A day will come when the people of Pakistan will go against their own government to fight terrorism. India has been successful in isolating you (Pakistan) globally, and we will intensify our efforts to make sure that you are isolated globally. The people of Pakistan should ask their leaders that India and Pakistan got freedom in the same year, but India exports software and your (Pakistan) leaders are exporting terrorists,” said Prime Minister Modi, while addressing a public rally in Kozhikode.Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the UN General Assembly in New York today, where she is expected to give a stinging response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA speech.Outlining India’s focus for the UN General Assembly session, New Delhi’s envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said 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.External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said that 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.

After Gambhir’s opening, Pakistan to face Sushma blitzkrieg at UNGA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to address the UN General Assembly with all eyes set on her speech in which she is expected to deliver a stinging response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “tirade” on Kashmir. Swaraj arrived on Saturday afternoon and will address the UN general debate tomorrow morning. “Leading India’s delegation to the 71st UNGA. EAM @SushmaSwaraj arrives in New York,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted. Swaraj is expected to give a stinging response to Sharif’s UN General Assembly (UNGA) speech, in which he had focused elaborately on Kashmir. India’s strong Right of Reply to his speech 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. Swarup told reporters here Friday that “the whole world and the entire nation” is waiting to hear from Swaraj who will deliver India’s “vision document” for the 71st UNGA. “We are all looking forward to that,” he had said.He, however had not elaborated on elements of Swaraj’s address but said “the whole world and the entire country is waiting to hear what the External Affairs Minister has to say but I think the broad themes that Akbaruddin has outlined are definitely going to be a part of our presentation at this most important forum in the international community”. 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”. Gambhir’s opening gambit There’s no doubt Indo-Pak relations have hit a new low since the Uri attack. This was epitomised by Eenam Gambhir’s sharp reubutal to Pak PM Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly where she branded Pakistan the ‘host to the Ivy League of terrorism’. Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir made a strong rebuttal. “What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she said.Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours. She noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.

Swaraj arrives in NY for UNGA address; expected to give stinging response to Sharif’s ‘tirade’ on Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj arrived here to address the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, with all eyes and ears set on her speech on Monday which is expected to give a stinging response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “tirade” on Kashmir.Swaraj arrived on Saturday and will address the UN General Debate on Monday morning.”Leading India’s delegation to the 71st UNGA. EAM @SushmaSwaraj arrives in New York,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.Swaraj is expected to give a stinging response to Sharif’s UNGA speech, in which he had focused elaborately on Kashmir. India’s strong Right of Reply to his speech 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, New Delhi’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.Swarup told reporters here on September 23 that “the whole world and the entire nation” is waiting to hear from 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 Swaraj’s address but said “the whole world and the entire country is waiting to hear what the external affairs minister has to say but I think the broad themes that Akbaruddin has outlined are definitely going to be a part of our presentation at this most important forum in the international community”.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”.Exercising the Right of Reply to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambler had said, “the worst violation of human rights is terrorism”.”When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime. What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she said.She had said India sees in Pakistan as “a terrorist state” which channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbors.

Pakistan carrying out war crimes using terror as state policy: India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its sharpest attack on Pakistan, India on Thursday called it a “terrorist state” which carries out “war crimes” by using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”, after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif glorified Hizbul commander Burhan Wani at the United Nations. India also strongly rejected Sharif’s call for “a serious and sustained” bilateral dialogue “without any conditions”, saying that Pakistan, which “seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government”, wants talks with a “gun in its hand”.Strongly reacting to Sharif’s remarks at the UN General Assembly session, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar described them as full of “threat, bluster and complete disregard of facts” as he said glorification of Wani by him at the world forum is an act of “self-incrimination” by Pakistan. He said it is “shocking” that a leader of a nation can “glorify a self-declared self-advertised terrorist” at a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly.”We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Burhan Wani was a self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, this organisation is widely acknowledged internationally as a terrorist group,” Akbar said at a briefing to Indian reporters here responding to Sharif’s General Debate address at the UN.”This is self-incrimination by the Pakistan Prime Minister. We just heard a speech full of threat, bluster and what can only be described as rising immaturity and complete disregard of facts,” he said.In his nearly 20-minute speech, almost half of which was focussed on Kashmir, Sharif had hailed Wani – who was killed on July 8 by the Indian forces resulting in tensions in the Valley – as a “young leader” and the “symbol” of the Kashmiris’ freedom movement.Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir made a strong rebuttal.”The worst violation of human rights is terrorism. When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime,” she said.”What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she added.Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” which channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours.In a reference to JeM chief Masood Azhar and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, she said terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with State’s support. “With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organisations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” Gambhir said.”Even today we have heard support by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organisation,” she said. She said while Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record is marked by “deception and deceit,” it talks about restraint, renunciation and peace.”Similar false promises it has made to us – the international community on terrorism. Perhaps renunciation of lies and self-restraint on threats could be a good place for Pakistan to start,” Gambhir said.Akbar said: “Pakistan at this moment seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government. Pakistan wants dialogue while holding a terrorist gun in its hand. Talks and guns don’t go together. Our position on a dialogue has been consistent. We have always been ready for a dialogue but we will not succumb to the blackmail tactics of the government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorists and terrorism as policy.”Sharif had said that Islamabad is open to discuss “all measures of restraint and responsibility” with India, in “any forum or format and without any conditions” but blamed India for posing “unacceptable preconditions” to engage in a dialogue.Gambhir said Pakistan was a “democracy deficit” country and “practises terrorism on its own people”. “It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws,” she added.Gambhir voiced India’s firm resolve to protect all its citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and said “we cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail”. She reminded the UN that the trail of the most “horrifying” and “dastardly terror attack” of 9/11 led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been hiding for years and was killed by US forces. She also noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.”The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe,” she said, adding that it is ironical that a country which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism, is preaching human rights and talks about the ostensible support for self-determination. She also told the UN General Assembly that shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” in the world body, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in Uri that claimed 18 Indian lives.”That terrorist attack is part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country,” she said.

Hypocrisy towards terrorism will not do: India at UNGA summit for refugees

United Nations: Describing terrorism as an “existential threat”, India has said that “hypocrisy” towards the menace is unacceptable and underlined that terrorism is the “principle cause” of the large-scale refugee movement.

“It is important to stress that today the geo-politics of the crisis points and proves that terrorism is the principle cause of refugee movements. Can we ignore this fact, we cannot. We do so at our peril,” Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said in his address to the UN General Assembly’s first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants at the United Nations on Monday.

Akbar asserted that terrorism is an “existential threat” and “hypocrisy towards this crisis will not do.”

He underscored that for the millions of people fleeing conflict, war and poverty, terrorism is not characterised as good or bad.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“There is no good terrorism or bad terrorism and if you do not know the answer to this question, all you have to do is ask the refugee if he considers any terrorism to be good or bad,” Akbar said.

Stressing that terrorism is the “biggest danger” to human rights, Akbar said large movements of people across borders serve as a reminder that the world has become a global village.

“We can only prosper or perish together, it is best that we learn to live in peace, prosperity and amity,” he said.

Underlining that “prevention is better than cure”, Akbar said the international community has to address issues like terrorism, prevent armed conflict and facilitate development, which will help ensure people are not forced to flee their homeland.

“We have to find out what drives them towards seeking refuge. Prevention is better than cure. Perhaps prevention is the only cure,” he said adding that preventing armed conflict, countering terrorism, building and sustaining peace to facilitating sustainable development and governance will prevent people from being forced to leave their homeland.

Terming the present refugee crisis as “unprecedented”, Akbar said the number of people on the move globally is estimated at close to 250 million or one in every 30 persons and three-fourths of all refugees come from just 11 countries.

Akabar noted that it is disconcerting that just seven countries host more than half of all refugees and now almost 90 per cent of all refugees are hosted in developing nations. He said it is wrong to assume that host nations do not want refugees.

“It is assumed that only host nations do not want refugees. I ask do refugees also want to become refugees. They don’t,” he said.

He said the problem of the refugee crisis has been with the world for a very long time.

“Refugees are as old as war. The first consequence of war is death and the second is refugees. There is another kind of person seeking a new haven — the migrant driven by a second cruelty, hunger or economic aspiration, and both phenomenon are visible in the present crisis.”

Akbar referred to India’s “long history” of welcoming people seeking refuge from conflict, war, tyranny and poverty.

“India offers refuge not because it has a large bank balance but because it has a large heart,” he said.

He cited the tumultuous year of 1971 when Bangladesh was fighting for independence and more than a million people from the neighbouring nation took refuge in India to escape the “genocide” that they were facing at home.

“People seeking shelter in our country have never been turned back. Our record has been unique,” he said.

Akbar said nationalism is the “contemporary architecture” of stability and “we understand its importance.

“The intersection of human need in a refugee crisis and national imperatives make this a complex issue,” he added.

Akbar also recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s “seminal contribution” to abolishing indentured labour 100 years ago.

He said in more recent times, Indian migrants, including a cross section of professionals, skilled and less-skilled workers, have migrated to countries around the world and offered a “positive contribution to the diaspora”.

He voiced India’s commitment to working with all partners beginning next year in developing a global compact to ensuring a safe and orderly migration that is in the interest of all people.

Akbar also held meetings with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Bulgaria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Daniel Mitov and Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly yesterday.

Sources told PTI that discussions during the meetings focussed on the issue of terrorism, refugees and migrants and the situation in the Middle East. The Ministers also discussed the need for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

“Discussions on bilateral issues on the sidelines of UNGA71 MOS MJ Akbar and FM of Iraq Dr Ibrahim al-Jaafari,” India’s Permanent Mission to the UN tweeted.

Another tweet said Akbar “meets Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Daniel Mitov on the sidelines of #UNGA71.”

Internationalising Kashmir issue again: Pak PM Sharif writes to permenant members of UNSC over ‘dire situation’ in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written to the permanent members of the Security Council over the Kashmir issue saying it is a “constant source of tension and instability” posing a threat to world peace and security. Sharif has written to the Heads of Government/State of China, France, Russia, the UK and the US regarding “grave human rights violations” in Kashmir, Foreign Office (FO) said on Monday.”The letters emphasise the extremely negative implications of the dire situation in Kashmir, on regional, as well as international peace and security,” it said in a statement.Sharif wrote the “non-resolution of the Kashmir issue is a constant source of tension and instability in the region and a threat to international peace and security”. Last week, Sharif met Hurriyat leaders from Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) and had assured them that he would “emphatically highlight” the Kashmir issue at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.Highlighting the ‘violations’ of international human rights and humanitarian laws in Kashmir, Sharif in his letters asked the permanent members of the Security Council to fulfill their responsibility with regard to the Kashmir issue, which he said is one of the oldest internationally recognised unresolved disputes on the agenda of the UNSC.Despite the passage of more than 68 years since the adoption of multiple resolutions, the people of Jammu and Kashmir still await the implementation of these resolutions which promised them the right to self-determination to be exercised through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices, he wrote.Sharif urged the permanent members of the Security Council to call upon the Indian government to immediately stop the bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir and honour its human rights obligations as well as its commitments to the Kashmiri people.

No surprises: Pakistan’s Chief Justice just confirmed Pak political parties support terrorists!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Pakistan is trying to deny its hand in the recent Uri attack, it seems like their role in supporting terrorists is an open secret back home. Pakistan’s Chief Justice recently revealed that political parties in the country are endorsing terrorism. Speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali slammed political parties for endorsing terrorism, confirming what India and a major part of the international committee has been saying for a while. Justice Jamali was quoted saying by Geo News: “It is disappointing to see some political parties supporting terrorists for their own interest.” He also added that courts were being attacked by terrorists to ‘instil fear among lawyers and judges’. He also added that Jinnah didn’t want to make Pakistan secular: “The constitution allows all faiths to practice their religion without fear of being persecuted.”India plans multi layered response to Uri attackDetermined to use a calibrated, multi-layered and strategic response to Uri attack, India is likely to expose Pakistan before the world community by furnishing it with actionable evidence regarding its sponsoring of terrorism and press for isolating the nation.India is also planning to hand over to Pakistan evidence of the four terrorists using Pakistani-marked weapons, food, energy drinks and GPS trackers which they carried to enter Jammu and Kashmir from across the Line of Control.Indications in this regard came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a nearly two-hour meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, NSA Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and other top officials to discuss India’s response.Top brass of the government is convinced that India has to launch a calibrated, multi-layered and strategic response and expose Pakistan in international forums like the UN, whose General Assembly is in session, official sources said.As part of the plans, the Director General of Military Operations will hand over all the evidence linking Pakistan’s involvement in Uri attack to his Pakistani counterpart shortly.At the meeting where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was conspicuously absent, the top security brass briefed the Prime Minister on the prevailing ground situation in Kashmir Valley in the wake of the terror attack at a Brigade Headquarters in Uri, the sources said.The Defence Minister and the Army Chief, who visited Kashmir after the terror attack yesterday, also apprised the Prime Minister about their observations, they said.Heavily-armed terrorists, believed to be from Pakistan-based JeM, had yesterday stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir, killing 18 jawans.India has reacted strongly to the deadliest attack on the Army in Jammu and Kashmir in a quarter-century-old insurgency that sparked an outrage with the Prime Minister strongly condemning it. Gen Sharif meets top commanders after India’s ‘hostile narrative’Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif met his top commanders and said the military was “watchful” towards the security imperatives of the country in the wake of “hostile narrative” by India after terrorists killed 18 Indian soldiers in Kashmir.The Corps Commanders’ Conference – held in Rawalpindi and chaired by Gen Sharif – reviewed external and internal security situation and operational preparedness of the army, the army said in a statement.”Taking note of a hostile narrative being propagated by India, COAS (Gen Sharif) said that we are fully cognizant and closely watching the latest happenings in the region and their impact on the security of Pakistan,” the statement said.”Armed forces of Pakistan are fully prepared to respond to entire spectrum of direct and indirect threat,” he said, expressing his satisfaction over operational preparedness of the army.”Pakistan’s armed forces together with our resilient nation have surmounted every challenge and will thwart any sinister design against integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan in future as well,” Gen Sharif said during the meeting.Heavily-armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Indian Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours yesterday, killing 18 jawans and injuring 19 others in the attack in which all four terrorists were neutralised.It was the worst attack on the Indian Army in many years.India’s DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh has said all the four killed militants were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings and that initial reports indicated that they belonged to Pakistan-based Jaish-E-Mohammed terrorist group.Pak writes to heads of China, France, Russia, UK and US over KashmirAhead of his address to the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written to the permanent members of the Security Council over the Kashmir issue saying it is a “constant source of tension and instability” posing a threat to world peace and security. Sharif has written to the Heads of Government/State of China, France, Russia, the UK and the US regarding “grave human rights violations” in Kashmir, Foreign Office (FO) said today. “The letters emphasise the extremely negative implications of the dire situation in Kashmir, on regional, as well as international peace and security,” it said in a statement.Sharif wrote the “non-resolution of the Kashmir issue is a constant source of tension and instability in the region and a threat to international peace and security”. Last week, Sharif met Hurriyat leaders from Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) and had assured them that he would “emphatically highlight” the Kashmir issue at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. Highlighting the ‘violations’ of international human rights and humanitarian laws in Kashmir, Sharif in his letters asked the permanent members of the Security Council to fulfill their responsibility with regard to the Kashmir issue, which he said is one of the oldest internationally recognised unresolved disputes on the agenda of the UNSC.Despite the passage of more than 68 years since the adoption of multiple resolutions, the people of Jammu and Kashmir still await the implementation of these resolutions which promised them the right to self-determination to be exercised through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices, he wrote. Sharif urged the permanent members of the Security Council to call upon the Indian government to immediately stop the bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir and honour its human rights obligations as well as its commitments to the Kashmiri people. With inputs from agencies

MJ Akbar to address high-level UNGA summit for refugees, migrants

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar will attend several meetings at the UN, including a high-level summit on refugees and migrants aimed at addressing the unprecedented crisis. Akbar will attend various summits being organised at the high-level segment of the 71st UN General Assembly that opens today. He will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts of different nations on the sidelines of the session. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will arrive here on September 24 to address the General Debate on September 26. Akbar, who arrived here from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Venezuela, will address the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, which will kick off the high-level week. The India-US-Afghanistan trilateral will also be convened in New York later this week. The summit is the first time that the General Assembly has called for a meeting at the Heads of State and Government level on the topic and “it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response”, the world body said.World leaders are expected to adopt a political declaration as an outcome document at the summit, during which the UN will see a new addition to its family a dedicated migration agency. Leaders of the UN and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will sign an agreement to officially make IOM a related agency of the UN system. Akbar is also expected to attend other high-level summits and meetings during the week. On September 21, the Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance, which has become one of the biggest threats to global health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development. On the same day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a pitch for an early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change by convening a special event at which countries can deposit their ratification instruments with him.On September 22, there will be a high-level segment of the General Assembly to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development. A total of 195 leaders including 86 Heads of State, a Crown Prince, five vice presidents and 51 ministers will address the General Debate. About 1,100 requests for bilaterals have been put through, apart from the ones with Ban and 545 meetings have been requested, which include special side events and regularly scheduled meetings. Ban, who will have 124 bilaterals, will participate in 62 events.With Ban’s second five-year term expiring on December 31, this will be his last high-level week as the UN chief. The war in Syria will also take centerstage during the high level week with world leaders taking stock of the cessation of hostilities in the troubled country. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Syria is one of the most complex and dynamic humanitarian crises in the world today. Since March 2011, more than a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and over one million have been injured.Another 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country, and 6.5 million are internally displaced, making Syria the largest displacement crisis globally.

International Yoga Day: Differently-abled students dazzle with Yoga skills

Dispelling the notion that being physically sound is a prerequisite for performing yoga, a group of differently-abled students sent a strong message on International Yoga Day on Tuesday and impressed everyone by performing asanas and yogic exercises.In an event marking the Yoga Day, the students who were on wheelchairs and crutches, performed various asanas with proficiency.With the globe observing International Yoga Day and India leading from the front, various states across the country have organised events, with people turning up in large numbers to participate.President Pranab Mukherjee addressed a mass yoga demonstration, involving over a 1000 persons, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Union Ministers from the Centre were also seen participating with gusto to mark the event, as they joined the Yoga Day celebrations in different states. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi joined the celebration in Meerut and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu participated in Delhi.Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Yoga Day celebrations in Chandigarh where he spoke about the benefits of the ancient form, while lauding the nation for showing enthusiasm towards the event.In the run up to the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative postal stamp on Surya Namaskara in the national capital on Monday.The Ministry of Human Resource Development took up the initiative of ‘Yoga Olympiad’, which saw participation of school children from across 21 states.Over 173 Indian missions across the world are also organising Yoga Day celebrations to spread awareness about the ancient Indian exercise. Besides, the main event on the Yoga Day, several Indian missions have organised a series of curtain raiser events in various parts of the world to spread Yoga awareness.Meanwhile, the United Nations headquarters in New York was lit up ahead of International Yoga Day.The United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga on DeUcember 11 in 2014 after a call from the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27.

International Yoga Day: PM Modi thanks enthusiasts around world and welcomes them as ambassadors of discipline

Ahead of the International Yoga Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked nations across the globe for their enthusiasm and support to celebrate the ancient Indian discipline, adding that Yoga was so much more than just physical exercise and that it helped in achieving a sense of clarity.In a video posted on his Twitter account, the Prime Minister asserted that when he had outlined a vision for an International Yoga Day in September 2014 at the United Nations General Assembly, he never anticipated the enormous enthusiasm for the occasion from all corners of the world.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This unique occasion brings all of us together to celebrate the invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. Your support and participation last year and once again now, redeems our commitment to nurture and promote this ancient discipline and reaffirm yoga as the manifestation of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- the world as one family,” he said.
ALSO READ Paramahansa Yogananda: Tracing the life and times of the yoga pioneerRecalling the celebrations last year, the Prime Minister said that he remembered the iconic images from across the world where thousands gathered to observe Yoga Day. All the way from the Pacific Islands to Port of Spain, from Vladivostok to Vancouver and from Copenhagen to Cape Town, people participated.
ALSO READ ‘Unfit’ Amit Shah must practice Yoga first before preaching about it: JD(U)”The reverberations of the discipline found a natural home at the UN Headquarters in New York where the journey began. I was fortunate to celebrate the event along with 30,000 of my fellow citizens and foreign guests in New Delhi. As so many of you have already discovered, yoga is much more than physical exercise. It enables us to access a new dimension of our self. Even while providing a holistic approach to preventive health care, yoga helps us to restore balance and furnishes us with a much need sense of clarity,” the Prime Minister said.Asserting that India, through yoga, seeks completeness and at the same time a oneness with the worlds, Prime Minister said all everyone across the world are ambassadors of Yoga, taking India’s message out to the world. “I thank you for your commitment and welcome you as sister’s and brother of India’s family,” he added.
ALSO READ International Yoga Day: PM Modi assigns tasks to Cabinet colleaguesAs many as 10,000 people will be participating in the International Yoga Day celebrations in the national capital on June 21 in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). The United Nations General Assembly had declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day on December 11, 2014.Accordingly, the first International Yoga Day celebration was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 21 last year.

Disrupt finances of drug-terror nexus, Arun Jaitley tells UN General Assembly

United Nations: India has asked the global community to toughen its collective fight against the growing nexus of organised drug trafficking and terrorist networks by disrupting their financial flows, as these evils threaten peace, security and stability across regions.

“Terrorism constitutes one of the most dangerous threats to civilised societies today. Terrorism knows no borders and terrorists continue to strike cities and innocent civilians across continents,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his address to a special UN General Assembly session on the drug problem on Tuesday.

The “growing nexus of drug trafficking and terrorist networks endangers peace, security and stability across regions,” Jaitley stressed.

In a clarion call to the international community, he said, “we have to continue and toughen our collective fight against these evils.”

He termed as a “major challenge,” money laundering and illicit financial flows and proceeds of crime generated from drug trafficking and other transnational organised crime.

Arun Jaitley. AFPArun Jaitley. AFP

Arun Jaitley. AFP

“The criminal networks and drug syndicates can only be effectively busted by disrupting their financial flows,” he said at the three-day session that kicked off with the adoption by the 193-member body of the new framework on countering the world drug problem, drafted last month in
Vienna by to UN body the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Jaitley had last week participated in the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington and had held meetings with investors in the city.

Addressing the 30th Session of the UN General Assembly on World Drug Problem, Jaitley said the drug problem has global dimensions and requires collaboration across borders as it impacts nations’ ability to attain the objectives of the 2030 development agenda.

He voiced India’s firm commitment to the three UN conventions on drug matters, emphasizing that as a supplier of licit opiate raw material to the world and a traditional licit opium cultivator, India is “fully conscious” of its own responsibility to eradicate any illicit cultivation, reduce demand and put in preventive and enforcement measures.

“National efforts, however intense and sincere, cannot adequately deal with the drug problem. Bilateral, regional and international cooperation is essential in this area,” he said adding that one such area which needs extensive international cooperation is the coordinated action against emergence and abuse of new psychoactive substances.

He pointed out that the three conventions adopted by the international community have served well in limiting and managing the drug problem and provide sufficient flexibilities to Member States to fine tune their domestic laws so as to be commensurate with the realities and challenges of 21st century.

“We strongly believe in the centrality of the three international drug control conventions in addressing and countering the world drug problem. We firmly believe that the conventions provide ample scope to incorporate the ‘human face’ of the drug problem,” Jaitley said.

He said several steps are being taken for strengthening supply and demand reduction activities as well as treatment and after-care facilities through a public health approach.

He said India is committed to ensuring the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion, abuse and trafficking and ensure availability of drugs for palliative care, pain relief and opioid substitution therapy for cancer patients and drug abuse victims.

Further augmenting regional cooperation to combat crimes related to drug and money laundering, Jaitley said India in coordination with UN Office on Drugs and Crime is in advanced stages of setting up a regional coordination centre for South Asia named SARICC (South Asia Regional Intelligence and Coordination Centre) with India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives as founding members.

“The task ahead, especially in the next three years, is arduous indeed. I am confident that this session and its outcome will give a new impetus to the national, bilateral, regional and international action towards realizing a world free of drug abuse in our lifetime and achieve the
‘sustainable future we want’,” he said.

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