'Regressive': Without naming Pak, Modi slams Imran's crude rhetoric

By Nikhila Natrajan

United Nations, Sep 25 (IANS): Without once naming Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday ripped his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan's harsh rhetoric targeting India by slamming "countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool".

Modi was speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and his address came a day after Khan's litany. During a Friday address, Khan had framed Pakistan as a victim 'wrongfully trapped between American and global double standards'.

"For the current situation in Afghanistan, for some reason, Pakistan has been blamed for the turn of events by politicians in the US and some politicians in Europe," Khan said, adding: "From this platform, I want them all to know, the country that suffered the most, apart from Afghanistan, was Pakistan when we joined the US war on terror after 9/11."

Khan's toughest words were reserved for India.

India, in its right of reply on Friday, hit back.

"This is the country which is an arsonist disguising itself as a firefighter," Sneha Dubey, a first secretary in India's UN Mission, said on Friday.

"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," she said.

The morning after, Modi closed it out.

"These countries must understand that terrorism is an equally big threat to them. Also, it is absolutely essential to ensure that Afghanistan's territory is not used to spread terrorism or for terrorist attacks," Modi said in the tail end of his address, which kicked off the weekend programming at the UNGA.

"We also need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there, and use it as a tool for their own selfish interests. At this time, the women and children of Afghanistan, the minorities of Afghanistan, need help. And we must fulfil our duty by providing them with this help," Modi said.

Earlier this week in a joint statement, Quad leaders Modi, Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan and US President Joe Biden slammed terrorist proxies and cross-border attacks, without naming Pakistan or China.

This messaging comes soon after US withdrawal from Afghanistan and amid the deepening mistrust between the US and Pakistan, which remains important to US intelligence because of its proximity to Taliban leaders now in charge of the war-torn nation.



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