Astana: Minister of State for External Affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday said that Pakistan was the global epicentre of terrorism and was the source of terrorist activities against India.
While addressing the Conference of Interaction & Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at Astana, Kazakhstan, Lekhi accused Pakistan of misusing the platform to propagate false and malicious propaganda against India and distracting from the theme and focus of discussions and cooperation among the member states.
“Pakistan is the global epicentre of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activities, including in India. Pakistan continues to make no investment in human development but provides their resources for creating and sustaining infrastructure of terrorism,” she said.
She said Pakistan must immediately cease anti-India cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism. “It will do well to stop the grave and persistent human rights violations in Pakistan occupied Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh (PoJKL); refrain from effecting any further material changes in the status of PoJKL; and vacate the Indian territories that are under its illegal and forcible occupation.
“We desire normal relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. Pakistan is thereby advised to walk the talk by creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross-border terrorism against India in any manner. This will enable the two countries to engage and address issues bilaterally rather than distract this important international forum from its agenda of cooperation,”she added.
She asserted that the Union Territories of “Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of India. Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal affairs.”
“Pakistan’s remarks today constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity which is inconsistent with the CICA Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States of September 1999,” she added.
“Terrorism remains the biggest challenge and threat to our peace and continues to be the biggest violator of human rights in all its form. Terrorism like climate change and pandemics impacts us all. India follows a zero-tolerance approach towards terror and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross border terrorism.
“For many decades, India has been affected particularly by the menace of cross-border terrorism sustained through financial, political and moral support of some states,” Lekhi said.
Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his address once again raked up the Kashmir issue, which India considers to be a bilateral matter.
India is one of the founding members of CICA. Lekhi arrived at Astana as the special convoy to lead the Indian delegation at CICA.