ISLAMABAD: Contending that talks with Pakistan are the only way to deal with terrorism, Indian Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told parliament on Wednesday that New Delhi was engaging with Islamabad with a belief that dialogue was the only option to remove “the shadow of terror”.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), Swaraj said India and Pakistan decided to hold talks on terror when Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Ufa (Russia) in July and then in Paris recently, the Indian media reported.
“We said we can talk so that terrorism comes to an end. So talks (between NSAs) took place in Bangkok where we discussed terrorism. But one meeting will not bring a solution to all problems. So, we will continue the dialogue,” she said during the Question Hour.
Swaraj further stressed that war with Pakistan was not an option and that India was talking to Pakistan regarding terrorist camps existing in Azad Kashmir. She was responding to BJP member Ganesh Singh’s question whether India was exploring options like the US did to hunt down terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.
“We have decided that through talks we will resolve the issue of terrorism as talks are the way forward so that the shadow of terror is removed. But we want to make it clear…our prime minister has made it clear that talks and terror can’t go together. Dialogue is drowned by the sound of explosion,” she said.
Swaraj’s comments came in the backdrop of India’s recent decision to restart the ‘comprehensive’ dialogue with Pakistan under which various subjects, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, will be discussed.
Indian External Affairs Minister said Modi had said there was a need for talks to resolve the issue of terrorism.“The prime minister said let’s talk on terror. For talks, we will have to put in faith. There is no third party. Through talks, both the countries are trying to resolve the issue of terrorism,” she said.
Swaraj said following Modi’s conversation with Sharif in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of climate change summit and in line with the Ufa understanding between the two leaders, the National Security Advisors of the two countries met in Bangkok on December 6.
“They held candid and constructive discussions. During my recent visit to Pakistan on December 8-9, the two sides decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial,” she said.
She said India will continue to take all necessary steps to safeguard the nation’s security and safety of all citizens.Asked whether India raised the issue of cross-border terrorism at any international forum like the UN, Swaraj said the government actively discusses it in all its forms and manifestations in multilateral forum including UN, EU, SCO, ARF, BIMSTEC, SAARC, GCTF etc. and bilaterally with several countries, including all P-5 countries in Joint Working Groups on counter terrorism.
She said the prime minister had raised the issue of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) which had been pending in the United Nations for adoption since 1996.
The prime minister has also discussed the CCIT with several world leaders. “It is heartening that now we are getting support from many countries and we are hopeful that the CCIT resolution would be adopted in the UN soon,” she said.
The CCIT, a global treaty proposed by India in 1996, aims to ban terrorists and make it binding on countries to deny funds and safe haven to them.
Swaraj said India had taken up on a number of occasions bilaterally with Pakistan and also where required with international community New Delhi’s concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.
“As a result of the government’s consistent pursuit of the matter, several individuals including Hafiz Saeed and entities including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawaa have been listed under the relevant provisions of the UNSC resolution No. 1267 which deals with Al Qaeda and related organisations,” she said.
She said Pakistan had arrested suspects for perpetrating the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008 and a trial was underway in this regard.