e-News® | The NEWS Company…WASHINGTON, 30 Sept, 2015 : A distant but friendly wave of hand by their prime ministers was all that transpired between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the annual U.N summit, scene of many past parleys that have largely been futile in resolving issues between the two neighbors.
Prime Minister Modi and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif waved at each other and smiled during a conference on UN Peace-Keeping hosted by President Obama at which they were seated on opposite sides of the table. Although the two leaders stayed at the same hotel (Waldorf-Astoria), they did not run into each other, much less meet formally or informally.
India largely ignored Pakistan’s carping on Kashmir at the UN, with Prime Minister Modi staying above the fray and involving himself in intense business outreach and community/diaspora relations during his visit, aside from having multiple bilaterals to push India’s membership of the security council and various multilateral forums.
The U.S too appeared to be happy not to be dragged into the long-standing dispute that evokes no interest in the international circuit. ”There was a broad acknowledgement that this is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and people were happy for India and Pakistan to resolve it among themselves,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters when asked whether Kashmir came up during talks between Modi and Obama.
Swarup also said Pakistan came up for discussion during Modi’s talks with U.S Prime Minister David Cameron and France’s President Francois Hollande in the context of terrorism. ”Broadly the idea was if terrorism has to be fought then all countries have to be on the same page. You can’t have some countries talking of good and bad terrorists,” he said, in an oblique reference to Pakistan’s continuous patronage of terrorist groups such as Lashkar e Taiba.
In fact, there is no sign of Pakistan’s threat to present evidence to the U.N and its members about India’s alleged interference in Balochistan. If it has been presented to anyone, it has gotten no acknowledgment.
The Indian side has laughed at the charges and the prospect of Pakistan putting India in the dock on the issue considering Pakistan has been and remains home to some of the world’s best known terrorists and terror groups, including U.N.designated terrorists.
With Prime Minister Modi having headed home after his engagements, New Delhi has left External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to counter any Pakistani charges, which in any case finds no traction in the international community.
In fact, the Pakistani media has been pillorying Prime Minister Sharif for staying at the Waldorf-Astoria instead of the Pakistan-owned Roosevelt Hotel. The more toxic sections of the media, evidently dismayed at the country’s worsening reputation and declining standing in the international community, have descended to name-calling.
There was no mention of Pakistan either during the Obama-Modi bilateral as New Delhi sought to keep the Pakistan outside its bilaterals although Prime Minister Modi broadly referred to terrorism in the region.
”As extremist terrorism threats grow and new ones emerge, we (India and the U.S) have resolved to further deepen cooperation on counterterrorism and radicalism,” Modi said, adding, ”We have agreed to further strengthen our consultation and cooperation on helping the Afghan people combat terrorism and build a peaceful, stable and prosperous future of their nation.”