India-Pakistan Clash Over Kashmir at UN Forum

UNITED NATIONS —  Pakistan's focus for decades has been to undermine India's territorial integrity through the "explicit use of terrorism" as a state policy, New Delhi said in a response after Islamabad raised the Kashmir issue at the UN.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi yet again raised the issue of Kashmir while addressing the High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace in the UN General Assembly Wednesday.

She said "foreign occupation and the denial of fundamental rights including the right to self-determination exacerbate the sense of injustice among the occupied and the oppressed".

"Nowhere is this more apparent than in the pain and suffering" of the people in Kashmir and Palestine, she said, citing the recent report on Kashmir issued by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

Minister in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Srinivas Prasad said that a culture of peace is not just an abstract value or principle to be discussed and extolled in conferences, but needs to be actively built into global relationships between and among nation states.

"It rests on good neighborliness and a respect for the territory and the governing systems and principles of other states," he said.

Prasad said it is ironic that Pakistan, "whose focus over the decades has been the undermining of India's territorial integrity through the explicit use of terrorism as a state policy has chosen to use this platform to yet again claim Indian territory under the guise of a supposed concern for 'justice and self-determination' by quoting a report that not a single member state had asked for or has supported".

He asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.

"As a democracy, India has always abided by the choices of the people and will not allow this freedom to be undermined by terrorism and extremism," he said.

Prasad further said that one of India's enduring principles has been Vasudheva Kutumbakam' or the concept that the world is one family'.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said a "non-violent revolution is not a programme of seizure of power. It is a programme of transformation of relationships".

"From the Vedic age in the distant past to the great teachers Mahavira and Buddha to Gandhiji, India's message has always been about the need of a Culture of Peace. It is may be due to this heritage of a Culture of Peace that has made India, home to the harmonious blending of different cultures and religions," Prasad said.

He said that India is the birthplace of Lord Buddha as well as home to the second largest Muslim community in the world.

"We are deeply conscious and proud of this heritage and our commitment therefore, to a Culture of Peace is natural and automatic," Prasad added.



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