A tale of two women scripting war of words

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New Delhi, Jan 16: Not by design but due to the needs governed by their positions, two women are dictating the tone of response by India and Pakistan. While Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar thunders that India is indulging in war mongering, BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj wants "10 Pak heads for one Indian jawan".

Hina Khar accused India of war mongering. In her address to the Asia Society in New York on Tuesday, she expressed disappointment at the statements from India's political and military leadership. "We see three incidents at the LoC and we see war mongering, which puts the last 60 years actively back to our memories. War mongering is coming in from the other side of the border which I thought was the thing of yesteryears and what we had put behind us," Khar said.

Sushma Swaraj and Hina Rabbani Khar

"We have ordered an independent investigation, but we are offering more, let a third party investigate the issue. I am appalled at some of the suggestions being made by the Indian politicians and spokespersons on Pakistan's effort to derail the peace process. This is a government that I represent of the Pakistan People's Party that has invested four years of building normalcy an environment of trust, an environment of moving forward to achieve common objectives of regional peace and foster internal stability between the two countries," she said yesterday.

This is the stated position of Pakistan as articulated by Hina Khar.

On the other hand, Sushma Swaraj does not hide her anger behind diplomatic language and it had its effect. "If his (Hemraj's) head could not be brought back (from Pakistan), we should get at least 10 heads from their side. The question is: Will we sit without any reaction and engage in a dialogue? This should not happen. At least the government should react in some way. That is why we have said that government should take some tough measures."

After Sushma's tough talk, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forced to modulate his friendly stance towards Pakistan and said 'no usual business' with Pakistan.

Sure enough Sushma said yesterday that "the Prime Minister got the message, he too sensed the popular mood after which he began issuing a series of statements (against Pakistan)."

It seems to have echoed in distant New York. A day after the Prime Minister said that it 'can't be business as usual' with Pakistan anymore, Hina Khar said in New York 'the dialogue process should not be interrupted'.

Do not be selective, India tells US

India has raised Pakistan's continuing support to terror groups at the United Nations, seeking international action against state sponsors of terror. India named Pakistan terror groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa as major security threats to South East Asian countries.

India's representative to the UN Hardeep Puri said, "The international community cannot afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism. Resort to the use of terrorism as an instrument of State Policy is short-sighted. Those who have taken recourse to it have invariably themselves suffered immensely from it."

Puri's comments came in the presence of Pakistan Foreign Minister. "Terrorism is a Frankenstein monster. Resort to the use of terrorism as an instrument of State Policy is short-sighted. Indeed, those who have taken recourse to it have invariably themselves suffered immensely from it proving the age old dictum that those who play with the sword, shall also perish by it," Puri said at the debate which was organised here yesterday by Pakistan in its capacity as the current President of the 15-nation powerful Security Council.

While India's two-year term as a non-permanent member at the Council ended last month, it participated in the day-long debate. Khar shook hands and greeted Puri as she was leaving the Security Council hall at the UN headquarters during the debate.

Puri told the Council that India has faced the "scourge of terrorism" for over two-and-a-half decades with the entire South Asian region being "wracked by the activities of the biggest terrorist actors in the world, be they al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, elements of Taliban and others."

He said terrorism, extremism and radicalisation continue to pose a serious challenge to peace, progress and prosperity in the region. Puri noted that the landscape of international terrorism has undergone vast changes over the years, with terrorists becoming globalised in their outreach and activities.

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