Sushma Swaraj chastised at home
S M Hali


For UNGA hate-speech

Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who delivered her hate-filled speech targeting Pakistan at the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) 73rd Summit on behalf of India, is facing severe criticism back home by political adversaries of the government and independent intellectuals.

Leading the attack is Indian politician and former career international diplomat, currently serving as Member of Parliament, from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009. He also presently serves as chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs and All India Professionals Congress of the Indian National Congress. He was previously minister of state in the government of India for external affairs (2009–2010) and human resource development (2012–2014). Shashi Tharoor’s is a voice of reason based on experience, since until 2007 he was a career official at the United Nations, rising to the rank of Under-Secretary General for communications and public information in 2001. He announced his retirement after finishing second in the 2006 selection for UN Secretary General to Ban Ki-Moon.

Dr Shashi Tharoor, who is an author of seventeen books and is a regular columnist, criticised Sushma Swaraj, stating that he was “disappointed” and feels that all the Pakistan bashing in New York was aimed at the BJP voters. His other objection to her 29 September speech was that it didn’t portray India in a good light. The Kerala lawmaker said that Ms Swaraj’s scathing attack on Pakistan was aimed at sending out a message to her party’s voters. India goes to polls for the new government in 2019 and there are several state elections till the mega national election. The informed former diplomat, in a biting rebuke stated that instead of addressing the international audience, Sushma Swaraj limited her speech to the domestic audience, focusing on the political environment in India.

Ms Swaraj had lashed out at Pakistan for “harbouring terrorists” and “masking malevolence with duplicity”. She rejected Pakistan’s charge that India was shying away from talks and clarified that it was impossible to speak to a nation where proclaimed terrorist Hafiz Saeed roams freely. Lying through her teeth in typical Chanakyan style, Sushma Swaraj, whose parents hailed from Dharampura, Lahore in Pakistan, and father was a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) operative, bears deep hostility against the country of her parents’ origin. In her previous tenure as Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ms Swaraj, had spitefully declared that India does not need to invade Pakistan physically, when in can saturate the minds of average Pakistanis with Hindu customs, traditions and norms and turn them away from their religion and faith. The manner in which Indian culture has permeated into Pakistani society through films, dramas, songs and dance from across the border and brainwashed whole generations, Ms Swaraj was not off the mark.

In her lackluster address to UNGA, she untruthfully lamented that India has not sabotaged negotiations with Pakistan. It began talks with Pakistan because India believed it necessary. They were stalled only because of Pakistan’s own behaviour.

She emphasised that India wants peace and after Imran Khan came to power in Pakistan, their request for talks was accepted. “But within hours, they killed three of our policemen in Kashmir,” she claimed. Obviously she feigned ignorance that the cold blooded murder of the Indian policemen was a false flag operation hurriedly executed to sabotage the talks to blame Pakistan.

The German ambassador, while appreciating the Pakistani foreign minister’s address to UNGA, stated that the issues highlighted by him are close to the hearts of Germany and the European Union

The Indian external affairs minister decried that Pakistan accuses India of human rights violations, but terrorists are “bigger violators”. Her voice faltered while uttering untruths that “Pakistan glorifies killers, refuses to see the blood of innocents, and then throws the dust of deceit on India to cover its own guilt.” To underscore her accusations, she gave the example of the manner in which al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was provided “safe haven” in Pakistan to allege its duplicity in fighting terror. She signed off with a message to Pakistan that it was “heartening” that the world doesn’t believe that country anymore.

Pakistan dismissed her charges as “baseless” and accused India of choosing politics over peace. Besides Shashi Tharoor, independent Indian analysts were also derisive of Sushma Swaraj’s meaningless tirade which brought her and India ignominy due to lack of acumen and substance in the speech.

By sharp contrast, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi delivered a balanced but hard hitting discourse in which he highlighted the problems and issues plaguing the entire world in contemporary times. So much so that the German ambassador to Islamabad, during his address at the German Unification Day Reception on 3rdOctober 2018, quoted from Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s speech: “The world faces a moment of inflection. The very foundations, the very principles on which the edifice of global order is constructed are under assault. Inequality within and among nations is on the rise. Forces of protectionism, populism and isolationism are gaining currency. Intolerance is ascendant over acceptance; rhetoric over reason, and power over principle. Where the world needs bridges, we see fortifications; where it needs highways, we see blockades, and where it yearns for freedom, we see cages. New forms and manifestations of imperialism are appearing. Multilateralism is on a path of retreat. Unilateralist tendencies are growing. Long standing legal norms are being eroded for strategic and commercial considerations. Dark clouds of trade wars are looming large on the horizon.

Challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, pandemics, transnational organised crime and sustainable development are becoming ever more complex. The post-world war idealism is giving way, slowly but surely, to a hardened, militaristic approach. This trend is not only regressive it is downright dangerous.”

The German ambassador, while appreciating the Pakistani foreign minister’s address to UNGA, stated that the issues highlighted by him are close to the hearts of Germany and the European Union. He gave the example of the wars fought in Europe, especially the prolonged world wars, which resulted in the loss of millions of human lives, yet today Europe is united (more or less), bringing forth the commonality rather than adversity. Perhaps he was hinting that India and Pakistan should bury the hatchet and strive for “Realising Potentials Together.” He is perchance unaware of the fact that Pakistan is faced with a neighbour that is obdurate, tyrannical and ruthless. It can rain bullets at the white coloured helicopter bearing the prime minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir and some of his cabinet members, pretending that it was a Pakistani military helicopter violating the LOC. No coincidence that the incident occurred a day after the uninspiring speech by Sushma Swaraj and the stirring articulation by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, apparently to give vent to Indian frustrations.

Readers may recall that after receiving drubbing at Kargil, which Indian spin doctors now claim as a victory, on 10 August 1999, Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets shot down an unarmed Breguet Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft of the Pakistan naval air arm over the Rann of Kutch while the aircraft was operating in Pakistani airspace. IAF helicopters landed troops close to the crash site in an attempt to pull the debris of the ill-fated aircraft into Indian territory but they were driven away by PAF fighters. All seventeen crew members of the Atlantique were martyred by India that day. Under the circumstances, Pakistan must maintain vigilance but expose India’s duplicity in every forum.