India today delivered a blunt message to Pakistan asking it to stop encouraging terror groups and “glorification” of terrorists and also called for “strongest action” against nations supporting terrorism and their isolation.
Without mincing any words amid the strain in Indo-Pak relations, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said mere condemnation of terrorism and terrorists is not enough and that there are “no good terrorists or bad terrorists”.
Singh in his address to the 7th SAARC Interiors Ministers Conference said terrorism continued to remain the biggest challenge and threat to the region.
The current strain in Indo-Pak relations was apparently evident when Singh came face-to-face with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan for the first time today and the two leaders barely shook hands.
The two leaders barely touched their hands, not even a formal handshake, before Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall.
Members of the Indian media, which came from New Delhi to report the conference, were not allowed to capture the moment or the conference and was kept at a distance by Pakistani officials, leading to a verbal duel between a senior Indian official and a Pakistani official.
The Home Minister also skipped the lunch being hosted by Khan after the meeting as the host had left the venue.
Speaking in Hindi at the conference, Singh said there should be “strongest action not only against terrorists or organisations but also against those individuals, organisations and nations who support terrorism.”
“It also needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronized by any state,” Singh said in a veiled dig at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Singh’s comments came against the backdrop of Sharif’s praise of Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8 and his description of Hizbul Mujahideen commander as a martyr, much to India’s ire.
“One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity- not just for India or other SAARC members in urging that in no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs.”
Calling for isolation of countries or individuals who provide any kind of support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorists, he said “strongest possible steps need to be taken not only against terrorists and terrorist organisations but also those individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them.
“Only this will ensure that the forces engaged in promoting the heinous crime of terrorism against humanity are effectively countered.