As Pakistan and India gear up to resume talks under the renamed ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday ruled out the option of war for resolving disputes with nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan, as she announced her government’s decision to tackle terrorism-related issues through negotiations.
“We said we can talk so that terrorism comes to an end. So talks (between national security advisers) took place in Bangkok where we discussed about terrorism. But one meeting will not bring a solution to all the problems. So we will continue the dialogue,” she told lawmakers in the Lok Sabha, lower house of the Indian parliament on Wednesday, the Indian Express reported.
Sushma pitches for uninterrupted talks
Her comments came days after she had told the Rajya Sabha, upper house of Indian parliament, that the Narendra Modi administration intended to have an ‘uninterrupted’ dialogue process with Pakistan.
“We have decided that through talks we will resolve the issue of terrorism as talks is the way forward so that the shadow of terror is removed.”
When questioned by Ganesh Singh, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, whether India was exploring options similar to the way US forces had mounted a raid in the garrison town of Abbottabad against al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden, Sushma cautioned that “war is not an option”, rather they were talking to Pakistan on addressing alleged terror camps in Azad Kashmir.
However, she warned that the talks will not be immune to provocations from ‘saboteurs’. “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.”
The comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which is expected to begin with the objective of “removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement”, Swaraj said that they would need to have some faith for the talks to proceed.
MPs demand briefing on Sushma engagement
“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.”
Unity to beat terrorism
Pakistan’s envoy in New Delhi said on Wednesday that defeating terrorism required coherent, cogent strategy by setting aside individual and collective biases.
“Terrorism is a global, regional, national and local phenomenon; it could not be defeated through half-baked and incoherent strategies,” said Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit at an event to commemorate the attack on Army Public School Peshawar. “We must transcend our individual and collective biases to eliminate terrorism and ensure that this menace does not resurface anywhere in the world.”
“The international community must understand our pain. It hurts us when we see Pakistan being painted by some with closed eyes. No other country has suffered more from violent extremism than Pakistan.
India, Pakistan agree to resume comprehensive dialogue
“No country, however preponderant, can be complacent when it comes to terrorism. We will triumph over it only if we fight together.”
According to a statement released by the High Commission, Basit further said that terrorism had no religion or faith and that Pakistan will fight the scourge to the end.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2015.
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