War with Pakistan not an option, Sushma tells Parl

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greets Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz looks on at the Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process in Islamabad on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greets Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz looks on at the Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process in Islamabad on Wednesday, December 9, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Speaking on the floor of Parliament, Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj declared that “war” with Pakistan is “not an option” and the dialogue is the only way to counter the “shadow of terrorism”. Ms. Swaraj was speaking in the backdrop of her visit to Pakistan where the two nations decided to re-start the ‘comprehensive’ dialogue.

Sushma Swaraj also apprised Lok Sabha that India and Pakistan decided to hold talks on terror when the Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif had met in Ufa (Russia) in July and then in Paris recently.

“We said we can talk so that terrorism comes to an end. So talks 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 said during Question Hour.

On being asked by BJP MP Ganesh Singh, if India was “exploring” options like the US did to hunt down terrorists, she said that “war is not an option” and India is talking to Pakistan on the terrorist camps existing in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“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. But we want to make it clear, our Prime Minister has made it clear that talks and terror can’t go together,” Sushma Swaraj replied to the query of her party MP.

“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,” she added.

FILE: File Photo of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval (C) with Principal Secretary, PMO Nripendra Mishra.  Photo - PTI

FILE: File Photo of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval (C) with Principal Secretary, PMO Nripendra Mishra (L).
Photo – PTI

Lending the details in Lok Sabha on the NSA-level talks in Bangkok, Sushma said the two NSAs held a “candid and constructive discussions”.

“The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial,” she said talking about her recent visit to Islamabad.

Talking about the cross-border terrorism, she said that government of India actively takes it up in forum including UN, EU, SCO, ARF, BIMSTEC, SAARC, GCTF and bilaterally with several countries, including all P-5 countries in Joint Working Groups on counter terrorism.

“It is heartening that now we are getting support from many countries and we are hopeful that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) resolution would be adopted in the UN soon,” she said emphasising that Prime Minister Modi had raised the issue of the CCIT, which has been pending in the United Nations for adoption since 1996.

“As a result of the government’s consistent pursuit of the matter, several individuals including Hafiz Saeed and entities including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawaa have been listed under the relevant provisions of the UNSC resolution No. 1267 which deals with Al Qaeda and related organisations,” Sushma Swaraj added further in her statement in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

(With inputs from the PTI)