Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Tuesday strongly countered Pakistan’s attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at an international Speakers’ meet and said the neighbouring country is a “known exporter of terrorists and epicentre of terrorism”.
Addressing the Eurasian Speakers’ meet in Kazakhstan, Harivansh said Pakistan was trying to hijack the meeting agenda by raising the issue and charged it with illegally occupying a part of Jammu and Kashmir and “finishing the identity and self-respect of locals”.
Terming Pakistan’s remarks as “very irresponsible”, he said, “We feel that they have tried to hijack this meeting and raise issues which are not only totally unrelated to the subject matter of this forum but are absolutely internal matter of ours”.
“Ironically, Pakistan has no authority — moral or otherwise, to dwell on Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral part of India. I did not want to say this but since my Pakistani counterpart has been insistent, I will have to make this point, the entire world knows that it is Pakistan that has illegally occupied our part of Jammu & Kashmir and they have finished the identity and self -respect of local people there,” he said at the conference.
Harivansh in his speech forcefully countered the statements made by the Pakistani counterpart about Kashmir and said terrorism is an International concern and biggest threats to humanity.
The Rajya Sabha deputy chairman said state sponsored terrorism and cross-border terrorism have today become a threat not only to India but to the entire humanity.
“What is most ironical is that this issue is being raised by a country which is a known exporter of terrorists and is the epicenter of terrorism for entire world,” he said at the 4th Meeting of Speakers of the Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Pakistan has been raising the Kashmir issue at international forums including at the South Asian Speakers’ Summit in the Maldives and a UNICEF event in Sri Lanka recently. India has strongly scuttled such bids.
Harivansh said the theme of this meeting- ‘Greater Eurasia: Dialogue, Trust, Partnership’ is very topical and appropriate, given the critical importance of Eurasia in the emerging global economy and geopolitics.
“Our role and contributions as Presiding Officers and the Parliamentarians will be of great significance in this endeavour,” he said.
He said, “India attaches a great deal of importance to our relations with the countries of Eurasian region. We have a long historical, cultural, economic, trade and civilizational linkages with the countries of this region. We have always endeavoured to promote and develop this cooperation and engagement. India is keen to put in place a Trade Arrangement with the Eurasian Economic Union.”
He said India is actively engaged bilaterally and multilaterally to promote connectivity in this region through various mechanisms such as International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Ashgabat Agreement, United Nations Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) Convention, etc.
“Let me share India’s vision for a more secure and prosperous Eurasian space as well as its concerns. Globalization is under stress due to new and emerging geo-political and geo-economic faultlines. India supports a rule-based order in the region, as in the rest of the world.
“But we confront unavoidable challenges such as terrorism, conflicts, trans-national crimes and maritime threats. There are also issues of climate change, sustainable development, energy security, gender equality and connectivity. These must be urgently addressed for our common good,” he said.
Noting that sustainable development remains at the centre of all our initiatives and programmes, the Rajya Sabha deputy speaker said climate change poses significant development challenges, especially for developing countries need resources and technical assistance to achieve sustainable development.
India, he said, has long tradition of preserving Mother Earth for future generations. “Sustainable development remains at the centre of all our initiatives and programmes,” Harivansh said.
“Our development actions are guided by the philosophy ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ which means inclusive growth. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s nationwide multi-sectoral initiative ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao- Save the Girl Child, Educate Her’ has been conceived to tackle the issue of child sex ratio and education of girls. Awareness raising and advocacy and mindset change are pivotal elements of the campaign,” he said.
Harivansh also said that as people’s representatives, “it is our duty as Parliamentarians” to promote and strengthen parliamentary cooperation for addressing challenges of terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, gender discrimination and ensuring growth and common prosperity.