Bluntly calling Pakistan a “prime sponsor of terrorism,” India on Wednesday asked Islamabad to vacate the part of Kashmir it has occupied, virtually laying down a new paradigm for any resolution of the issue.
“Pakistan is not primary victim of terrorism but of its own policies. It is in fact the prime sponsor of terrorism. Pakistan’s instability arises from its breeding of terrorists. Blaming neighbors is not a solution,” spokesman of India’s ministry of external affairs Vikas Swarup said in a series of tweets on Wednesday. New Delhi’s sulfurous response came after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had launched his country’s familiar lament about Pakistan being a victim of terrorism and the need to “demilitarize” Kashmir and give the state the right of self-determination. “To de-militarize Kashmir is not the answer, to de-terrorize Pakistan is,” Swarup blasted back. In response to Sharif’s statement that “many generations of Kashmiris have lived their lives under occupation,” Swarup tweeted the following retort: “Pak PM gets foreign occupation right, occupier wrong. We urge early vacation of Pak occupied Kashmir.” India’s hardline response, probably the toughest in decades, came after Sharif laid down Pakistan shop-worn narrative about being a victim of terrorism, despite openly harboring many well-known and UN and US designated terrorists and terror groups.
Despite this well known pattern, previous Indian governments had been reluctant to call out Pakistan and humiliate it so publicly, preferring discreet peace moves to walk it back from its widely-known sponsorship of terrorism. The BJP government appears to have decided it will call Pakistan’s bluff and expose it before the world community. In a more elaborate response — following Swarup’s tweets — exercising India’s right to reply, New Delhi accused Pakistan of misusing the UN “to distort reality and portray a false picture of the challenges in our region,” by presenting itself as a primary victim of terrorism. “In truth, it is actually a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists. Seeking to mask its activities as though an outcome of domestic discontent in the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir carries no credibility with the world,” said the statement by first secretary Abhishek Singh. Referring to Sharif’s allegations about ceasefire violations and exchanges of fire along the Line of Control and the International Boundary, the Indian statement said “the world knows that the primary reason for firing is to provide cover to terrorists crossing the border. It needs no imagination to figure out which side initiates this exchange.” “It is not uncommon for states, when confronted with serious challenges, to shift responsibility on others. That is the case with Pakistan and terrorism, reflecting the inability to recognize that this is a home grown problem that has begun to bite the hand that fed it. We agree that terrorism has underlying causes – in this case, poverty of wisdom and ignorance of consequences,” the statement, arguably the strongest response and the most elaborate repudiation to Pakistan’s narrative on the Kashmir issue, said.