United Nations downplays the war of words between India and Pakistan

Published : September 28, 2021 19:48 IST

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Photo: JOHN ANGELILLO/AP

The United Nations said it was hopeful of a dialogue between India and Pakistan. The statement follows a bitter exchange of words between the two nuclear-armed nations at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session on September 24. Pakistan alleged that India was perpetuating Islamophobia. India, on the other hand, said that Pakistan was an “arsonist disguised as a firefighter” and accused it of “sheltering terrorists”.

In the U.N. General Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused India of a “reign of terror” on Muslims. Reacting to the accusation, Sneha Dubey, First Secretary at India’s U.N. mission, said Pakistan had been “sheltering and glorifying al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden” who was killed by U.S. Special Forces in a 2011 raid in the army city of Abbottabad.

“We keep hearing that Pakistan is a ‘victim of terrorism’. This is the country which is an arsonist disguising itself as a firefighter. Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbours. Our region, and in fact the entire world, has suffered because of their policies. On the other hand, they are trying to cover up sectarian violence in their country as acts of terror,” Sneha Dubey said.

Notwithstanding such strong statements between the two countries, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary General, sought to downplay them on September 27. When asked whether the U.N. was concerned at such bickering and if the U.N. Secretary General was planning to speak to the leaders the two neighbouring countries, he said: “We heard the remarks and I think despite the tone and content of the remarks, we always remain hopeful that dialogue can happen, maybe in a place that is not under the spotlight.”

Earlier this year, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “encouraged” by the announcement of a ceasefire between India and Pakistan and that he was hopeful the two countries would agree to a dialogue.

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