India today hoped that the bill introduced by two senior American lawmakers in the US House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, will be treated with “utmost seriousness”.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said India has raised with China the recent Uri attack and Pakistan’s involvement in it as well as the issue of UN designation for Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar by the 1267 Sanctions Committee.
Replying to a query on the ‘Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act (HR 6069)’ bill by two US Senators, Swarup said, “It reflects the acknowledgement in the US Congress that a country to which the US had channelled so much aid is actually the epicentre of terrorism which has also targeted Americans and American interests.
“The US Congress has also blocked USD 300 million aid to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) due to Pakistan’s insufficient action against the dreaded Haqqani network. Earlier, the US Congress had also objected to the sale of F-16s (planes) to Pakistan.
“The present bill has been introduced by two of the seniormost and highly respected members of the Congress and I am sure it will be treated with utmost seriousness.”
The bill has been moved by Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Dana Rohrabacher, who is a ranking member of the influential Congressional Committee on Terrorism.
“It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism.
Swarup also mentioned that India has taken up with China the Uri attack and banning of Azhar. However, he did not elaborate further. It is understood that the issues have been taken at the “diplomatic level”. China had blocked India’s effort to get Azhar, a Mumbai terror attack mastermind, banned by the UN.
Reacting to reports that Russia has cancelled the joint exercise with Pakistan in PoK, he said India’s “sensitivities” towards Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism are well-known and same was also conveyed to its strategic partner, Russia.
On India’s assessment of Pakistan’s diplomatic moves and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raising Kashmir situation during his speech at the UNGA yesterday, Swarup said no country has referred to the issue (Kashmir) that Sharif devoted 80 per cent of his speech to.
“Two days have passed since the high-level debate in the UN General Assembly started. In each of these days, 25 countries have spoken. The UN Secretary General himself has spoken and laid out his main areas of concern. If you look at all the statements made so far, no one, I repeat, no one has referred to the issue that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif devoted 80 per cent of his speech to.
“On the contrary, virtually every statement has referred to terrorism as the main threat to international peace and security, a fact that Pakistan still remains in denial of. Four of the five members of the Security Council have also spoken and their statements are also available for everyone to see.”
He also asserted that onus was on Pakistan to act against terror groups which find safe haven and all types of support for cross-border terror.
He also said as far as the so-called dossier is concerned, there was no mention of the same in the read out given by the UN Secretary General’s Office.
“It makes no mention of the dossier. It does not talk about the Secretary General wanting to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, the Secretary
General has very wisely said that this issue needs to be settled bilaterally,” he said.
All the countries in the neighbourhood, barring one, have condemned the Uri attack in the strongest possible terms as well as very strong reaction by most countries including the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and many others, he noted.