Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at Pakistan over "using terrorism as a political tool" at his address to the UN General Assembly today. "The danger of regressive thinking and extremism is rising in the world," PM Modi said at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which was held online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Those who use terrorism as a political tool have to understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them," PM Modi said, a day after India gave a strong response to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan bringing up the Kashmir issue at the UNGA.
Pakistan has long been known to shelter terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed on its soil and India has brought this up umpteen times in the international fora. The 9/11 attacks mastermind Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in Pakistan, and the country has several terror camps near the Line of Control with India. One of them in Balakot was hit by Indian airstrikes in February 2019.
PM Modi called for a broader global response against terrorism, and also asked nations to work towards keeping the world's shipping lanes free from "expansionism".
"In Afghanistan, minorities need help. We should fulfil our responsibility... Our seas are our shared assets. We must make sure we use these resources and not abuse them. Seas are also lifelines of international trade. We must keep them away from the race of expansion and exclusion," PM Modi said.
Earlier, the Pakistani Prime Minister raised the Kashmir issue by mentioning India's move to make Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory.
In response, India's First Secretary Sneha Dubey said, "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."
PM Modi came to the UN headquarters in New York from Washington DC after holding his first bilateral with US President Joe Biden in the White House and attending his first in-person Quad summit yesterday.
The theme for this year's general debate at the UNGA was "building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations".