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India to Pakistan: Give Up Terrorism, Then We'll Talk

Sushma Swaraj, India's minister of external affairs, speaks during the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Oct. 1, 2015.

India has delivered a blunt response to a peace proposal from Pakistan at the annual U.N. General Assembly: "Give up terrorism'' and we can talk.

Denying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s claim that Pakistan is the primary victim of terrorism, Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said "it is actually a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists."

She contended that the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 168 people was still walking free in Pakistan. She also said recent cross-border attacks were intended to destabilize India.

"Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk. This will resolve all the problems,'' she said.

She said national security advisers of the two countries could meet and discuss all issues connected to terrorism and the directors-general of military operations could meet to tackle the border situation.

“If the response is serious and credible,” the minister said, “India is prepared to address all outstanding issues, which includes Kashmir in diplomacy-speak, through a bilateral dialogue.”

The hostility between Pakistan and India dates back seven decades, to the independence of the two states from Britain. The biggest dispute remains over the region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part. Kashmir has triggered two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Sharif on Wednesday called for the demilitarization of Kashmir and unconditional withdrawal of forces from the Siachen Glacier, where the two militaries have been arrayed against each other for years, vying for control of an uninhabited expanse of ice.

He said "cooperation, not confrontation,'' should define the India-Pakistan relationship.

But Swaraj rejected his overture, instead accusing Pakistan of cease-fire violations.

“The world knows that the primary reason for firing is to provide cover to terrorists crossing the border. It needs no imagination to figure out which side initiates this exchange,” she said.

She claimed Pakistan uses terrorism as a "legitimate instrument of statecraft."

“The world watches with concern as its consequences have spread beyond its immediate neighborhood. All of us stand prepared to help, if only the creators of this monster wake up to the dangers of what they have done to themselves,” she concluded.