FM Qureshi tells India to focus on domestic issues instead of 'igniting border disputes'

Published June 14, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says BJP government should be "focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better". — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says BJP government should be "focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better". — AFP/File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday advised the Indian government to focus on its domestic issues instead of "behaving like an expansionist nation".

In a two-part tweet, the foreign minister said: "It would serve PM Modi’s government and ‘neighbourhood first’ policy well to realise India’s neighbours pose far less of a problem than their own domestic inadequacies, failures and fascism."

Qureshi also criticised India for "igniting border disputes with every neighbour" and said that the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government should be "focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better".

Qureshi's tweets come days after Prime Minister Imran Khan offered to "help and share [the government's] successful cash transfer programme, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India". The PTI government has launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme under which about 12 million lower-income families each received Rs12,000 to cover basic needs for three months.

The prime minister's "offer" came after a study by University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) concluded that about 84 per cent of Indian households were suffering from a decline in income due to the pandemic.

In addition to the economic setback, the virus has also fuelled hate against Muslims in India as well as insecurities among the poor people who have lost work due to the government's measures to curb the spread.

Indian forces often resort to aggression at the Line of Control and target soldiers as well as civilians in "unprovoked" attacks, which results in damage to both life and property.

Apart from its disputes with Pakistan, India is currently engaged in a standoff with China's forces in the remote snow desert of Ladakh where hundreds of soldiers have been ranged against each other since April in the most serious border flare-ups for years after Chinese patrols advanced into what India deems its side of the de facto border.

Both sides are holding talks and, according to an Indian official, after weeks of tension — including an incident in which patrolling soldiers from the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, resulting in injuries — friction has eased somewhat.

Another conflict India is involved in is with Nepal, who has protested to India over a border road, which it claims traverses its territory. New Delhi denies the charge.

Protests in Nepal were also fuelled from a new map of the region India drew after the bifurcation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in December last year.

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