NEW DELHI: War is not an option and dialogue is the way forward with Pakistan to fight the ‘shadow of terror’, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament on Wednesday.

According to Press Trust of India, she told the Lok Sabha that India had decided to hold dialogue with Pakistan as it was the only way to remove the shadow of terrorism.

Ms Swaraj said Pakistan and India had decided to hold talks on terrorism when Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi met in Ufa, Russia, in July and then in Paris.


‘India has raised cross-border terrorism at many international forums’


“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 said during Question Hour.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP Ganesh Singh asked her whether India was exploring options like the US did to hunt down terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Ms Swaraj said her government was talking to Pakistan on the alleged terrorist camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as “war is not an option”.

PTI quoted her as saying: “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. Dialogue is drowned by the sound of explosion.”

Ms Swaraj was speaking against the backdrop of the recent decision to re-start a ‘comprehensive’ dialogue with Pakistan under which various subjects, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, will be discussed, PTI said.

“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 said.

Ms Swaraj said that following Mr Modi’s conversation with Mr Sharif in Paris on Nov 30 on the sidelines of the climate change summit and in line with the Ufa understanding between the two leaders, the national security advisers (NSAs) of the two countries met in Bangkok on Dec 6.

“They held candid and constructive discussions.

“During my recent visit to Pakistan on Dec 8-9, the two sides decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism.

“The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial.”

India would continue to take all necessary steps to safeguard the nation’s security and safety of all citizens, she said.

Asked whether India raised the issue of alleged cross-border terrorism at international forums, Ms Swaraj said the government actively discussed the issue in all its forms and manifestations at multilateral forums, including the UN, EU, SCO, Asean Regional Forum, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation and Saarc.

She said Mr Modi had raised the issue of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which had been pending in the United Nations for adoption since 1996, and discussed his ideas in this regard with several world leaders. “It is heartening that now we are getting support from many countries and we are hopeful that the CCIT resolution would be adopted in the UN soon,” she said.

The global treaty proposed by India aims to ban terrorists and make it binding for countries to deny funds and safe haven to them. Ms Swaraj said India had taken up on a number of occasions with Pakistan and also, where required, with the international community its concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.

“As a result of the government’s consistent pursuit of the matter, several individuals, including Hafiz Saeed, and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa, have been listed under the relevant provisions of the UNSC Resolution 1267 which deals with Al Qaeda and related organisations,” she said.

PTI quoted her as saying that Pakistan had arrested the suspects for perpetrating the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008 and a trial was under way in Pakistan in this regard.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2015

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