India’s Rajnath Singh’s Indictment From Islamabad Against Pakistani Terrorism–FULL TEXT

[The following speech by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the SAARC counter-terrorism meeting in Islamabad (Broadcast in India only, according to article.–Ed.) is an extraordinary act of courage and defiance, as the daring diplomat stood in the homeland of Sunni-Islamist terrorism and gave a speech, which read more like an indictment against the sponsors of the terrorism problem in the region, without ever calling them out by name. In order to deliver this blistering broadside from within the lair of militant Islam, Singh not only had to face multiple death threats from legal and banned terrorist groups to give this speech, but he even had to take the extra precaution of making the short trip from Islamabad airport to the Serena Hotel (also in Islamabad) by helicopter.

India has effectively illustrated a very ugly scenario for the entire region, foretelling of a major region-wide explosion that appears ready to happen.  Recent steps taken by China and new military alliances which they have made with Afghanistan’s neighbors make certain that there will be a big explosion between Pakistan and India, with China standing alongside Pakistan (China’s Gamble With One-Half of the Afghan Taliban and Without Either India Or the USA).  The perplexing part in all of this is that everybody seems to want an explosion to happen for their own selfish interests.  It doesn’t seem to matter that it will all be brought about because of Pakistan’s petty issues or Chinese greed or ambition.]

Rajnath Singh, SAARC, Rajnath Singh SAARC speech, Rajnath Singh pakistan, rajnath singh pak speech, rajnath singh media, pakistan, indo pak news Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh delivered a statement at the SAARC home ministers meet in Pakistan. (Source: File/PTI)

Rajnath Singh in Pakistan: Full text of Home Minister’s SAARC speech

the indian express

[FULL TEXT FOLLOWS]

“We are witness to mounting threats and incidents that endanger our region’s peace and stability. Terrorism remains the biggest challenge and threat to our peace. South Asia continues to be deeply affected by this malady, as witnessed most recently in cowardly terrorist attacks in Pathankot, Dhaka, Kabul and other places. Merely strong condemnation of such terrorist attacks is not enough. We must harden our resolve to eradicate this menace and also take serious steps to this end.

It also needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronized by any state. One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity- not just for India or other SAARC members – in urging that in no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs. Those who provide support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorism or terrorists must be isolated. Strongest possible steps need to be taken not only against terrorists and terrorist organisations but also those individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them. Only this will ensure that the forces engaged in promoting the heinous crime of terrorism against humanity are effectively countered.

The will and the mandate of international community against proscribed and wanted terrorists and their organisations must also be respected and implemented. If we are to rid ourselves of terrorism, we will have to genuinely believe that attempts to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists are misleading. No type of terrorism or support to it can be justified on any grounds whatsoever. Immediate and effective action is required against all those who support or encourage international terrorism in any way, whether they are state actors or non-state. Only then justice will be ensured for the victims of terrorist attacks such as in Mumbai and Pathankot. We must have the approach of ‘zero tolerance’ against any type of terrorism.

In our common fight against terrorism, implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol becomes crucial. This also includes ensuring effective measures so that those committing terrorist acts do not escape prosecution and punishment, and are extradited or prosecuted.

The menace of terrorism is greatly amplified by the misuse of digital technology. In our effort to tackle terrorism, we should look into all possible avenues of cyber-crime, its linkages with the terrorist world, and how these could be dealt with. Attention and efforts need to be devoted to ensure that social media and other modern technology is not misused for misleading especially the youth or promoting terrorism in any way.”

Here is the full text of Home Minister Rajnath Singh speech:

“At the outset, I congratulate H.E. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Saheb for his election as the Chairperson of this Meeting. I also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Government of Pakistan for excellent arrangements made for hosting this Meeting, and for the outstanding hospitality extended to me and my delegation.

Right from the formation of our government more than two years ago, India has reaffirmed that good relations with our neighbours are our highest priority. Under our “neighbourhood first” policy, we have spared no effort in further building our engagement, and working together with our partners in the region, to secure peace and prosperity for our people. I have come to this meeting with the same purpose.

I recall that under this Forum, we last met before the Eighteenth SAARC Summit that was held in Kathmandu in November 2014. At that Summit, our leaders committed to deepen regional integration for peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia. With 30 years of SAARC’s existence, today the need is more than ever that we take regional cooperation to a level that realizes the aspirations and expectations of our people.

Our vision for the region, as outlined by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji at the Eighteenth Summit, rests on the pillars of trade, investments, wide-ranging development cooperation, contacts between our people – and, all through seamless connectivity. We have accordingly carried forward the initiatives announced by Prime Minister. I am also happy to note that we have implemented the India business card scheme, which would facilitate eligible business leaders in their visits to India.

It is vital that the South Asian environment has necessary conditions for achieving greater regional prosperity, connectivity and cooperation, if our efforts to these objectives are to succeed. However, we are witness to mounting threats and incidents that endanger our region’s peace and stability. Terrorism remains the biggest challenge and threat to our peace. South Asia continues to be deeply affected by this malady, as witnessed most recently in cowardly terrorist attacks in Pathankot, Dhaka, Kabul and other places. Merely strong condemnation of such terrorist attacks is not enough. We must harden our resolve to eradicate this menace and also take serious steps to this end.

It also needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronized by any state. One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity- not just for India or other SAARC members – in urging that in no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs. Those who provide support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorism or terrorists must be isolated. Strongest possible steps need to be taken not only against terrorists and terrorist organisations but also those individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them. Only this will ensure that the forces engaged in promoting the heinous crime of terrorism against humanity are effectively countered.

The will and the mandate of international community against proscribed and wanted terrorists and their organisations must also be respected and implemented. If we are to rid ourselves of terrorism, we will have to genuinely believe that attempts to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists are misleading. No type of terrorism or support to it can be justified on any grounds whatsoever. Immediate and effective action is required against all those who support or encourage international terrorism in any way, whether they are state actors or non-state. Only then justice will be ensured for the victims of terrorist attacks such as in Mumbai and Pathankot. We must have the approach of ‘zero tolerance’ against any type of terrorism.

In our common fight against terrorism, implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol becomes crucial. This also includes ensuring effective measures so that those committing terrorist acts do not escape prosecution and punishment, and are extradited or prosecuted.

The menace of terrorism is greatly amplified by the misuse of digital technology. In our effort to tackle terrorism, we should look into all possible avenues of cyber-crime, its linkages with the terrorist world, and how these could be dealt with. Attention and efforts need to be devoted to ensure that social media and other modern technology is not misused for misleading especially the youth or promoting terrorism in any way.

I am happy that all SAARC members have supported our proposal to hold the second Meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to Strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism from 22-23 September 2016 in New Delhi. I thank all of you for this and hope that the meeting will achieve its objectives.

I would also draw the attention of my esteemed colleagues to the need for immediate ratification of the SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. We have not been able to benefit from the Convention, as some Member States are yet to ratify it. I would urge remaining Member States to consider ratifying the Convention at the earliest.

Trafficking of drugs and its abuse is a grave challenge which has an immeasurable adverse impact. It is a problem which is connected with all types of organized crime. Today, drug business generates the highest illegal fund flows. Trafficking of drugs, coupled with the problem of increasing circulation of fake currency, feeds into supporting terrorism and can create economic de-stabilization in our region. Towards implementation of the Regional Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, we have offered our full support and cooperation by way of capacity building and training programmes. There is also a felt need to achieve the full potential of the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk.

Safety and security of women and children will determine the well-being and strength of our nations. It is timely and relevant that SAARC has accorded due priority to this area of cooperation, since new threats are emerging with increasing access to information technology and the changing nature of global economy. In India, we have taken a number of new initiatives such as the ‘Track Child’ national portal and ‘Operation Smile’ to rescue children. We shared our experience at the Ministerial Meeting of the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children, which we were privileged to host recently. Our Prime Minister had launched the flagship ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme. It has rapidly expanded and has started contributing to ensuring the survival, protection, education and empowerment of the girl child.

Since this august forum also discusses our cooperation against corruption, I would like to mention that achieving greater transparency and good governance is a cornerstone of our policy. To give just one example, through our financial inclusion scheme Jan Dhan Yoyana that leverages world’s largest biometric Unique ID system Aadhar, and Direct Benefit Transfers, we have been able to transform our services delivery to ensure that benefits of public schemes reach the grass-root levels.

In a few months, leaders of the region would come together in this city of Islamabad for the 19th SAARC Summit. It is my hope that we would be able to demonstrate to our leaders concrete progress in areas of our mutual concern and interest that I mentioned in brief. Mr. Chairman, the time for us to act is now.

With these few words, I express my gratitude to you and all my esteemed colleagues.”

 

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China’s Gamble With One-Half of the Afghan Taliban and Without Either India Or the USA

[SEE:  China Activating Regional Military Alliances To Protect Economic Investments]

[UPDATE–Forgot to explain the “”One-Half of the Afghan Taliban” comment.  That relates to the fact that one faction of the Afghan Taliban is NOT represented by the Doha, Qatar “Taliban Office,” that is, the Mullah Razool/Zakir faction, the so-called “Mullah Dadullah Faction.”]

China’s peacekeeping efforts

express tribune

The writer is a special correspondent for The Express Tribune

The writer is a special correspondent for The Express Tribune

The recent visit to China by political negotiators of the Afghan Taliban is seen as the Communist nation’s move to play an active role in encouraging the insurgent movement to join the peace process. Confirming the visit mid-July, Taliban officials said, “Both sides explored ways to espouse a common stand against occupation and colonialism by some countries in the region.”

Although an unnamed Taliban official did not confirm whether the Qatar-based representatives reviewed prospects for renewing peace talks, diplomats in Islamabad say the visit was mainly related to the discussions on the possibility to start the peace talks. Taliban officials insisted that China had invited their negotiators for the visit, their second to the country in nearly two years. Chinese officials have so far avoided comments on the visit.

The delegation, led by Sher Abbas Stanekzai, head of the Taliban political office in Qatar, has assumed importance as the Afghan government has also endorsed the visit and a senior official has said Kabul accepts China playing a role. “China has been cleared already for the role,” an unnamed Afghan official was quoted as saying while commenting on the Taliban visit. Why China?

China, being a key member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), is struggling to keep the group alive following remarks by some Afghan officials that cast doubts on its efficacy. Contrary to previous meetings, the last meeting of the QCG of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US in Islamabad, on May 18, failed to decide on the next round of meetings of the group. Afghanistan had also reduced the level of its participation in the fifth round in view of the inability of the group to convince the Taliban to the table. The Taliban could equally be blamed for discrediting the four-nation process when they declined the QCG’s invitation to take part in peace talks in early March.

Whatever the situation might have been, the QCG is presently the best option available to push for peace negotiations with the Taliban. The Afghan government and the Taliban will have to understand its importance if they want to find a lasting solution to the conflict. As members of the QCG, Pakistan and the US will not have any problem if Beijing plays an active role in encouraging the Taliban to come to the negotiation table.

China could play a key role in the political process as it enjoys cordial relations with the National Unity Government and has longstanding contacts with the Taliban political office in Qatar. People familiar with the Qatar office say Chinese diplomats have paid several visits to meet Taliban representatives. The Taliban will have no problem with China playing a more proactive role in the peace process as it had never been militarily involved in Afghanistan and has no military ambitions in the country. The Taliban did not even react to the Chinese delivery of military equipment to Afghan security forces over the past few weeks. China started supplies of military aid under its assistance package of 480 renminbi (approximately $73 million) announced by General Fang Fenghui, chief of China’s joint staff department, during his visit to Kabul in March.

The onus is on the Afghan government of how it chooses to respond to the Chinese initiative. Kabul will have to dispel the impression that certain elements within the ruling coalition are averse to any peace process. Many could point out the deadlock in talks between the government and the Hizb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, despite a series of meetings over the past few months. Hekmatyar’s official Daily Shahadat magazine accused the Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah of frustrating the possible peace deal. First vice-president Abdul Rashid Dostam and presidential adviser, Ahmad Zia Massoud, publicly oppose talks with the Taliban. President Ghani will have to restrain these leaders from thwarting the peace process.

It is not the first time China’s role has been in the spotlight in the Afghan peace process. The country had hosted three senior Taliban leaders and a former key official of the government-sponsored Afghan High Peace Council, Masoom Stanekzai, in Urumqi last year. One of the Taliban negotiators had confided to the writer that the Taliban’s powerful Rehbari Shura, or leadership council had approved the Urumqi meeting.

The Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, Deng Xijun, had told The Express Tribune last year that China is ready to provide a venue for the direct talks between the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban if all sides agree to this role. Besides its role in the peace process, China is also interested in ensuring the preservation of its economic projects and the safety of Chinese workers in the country and it also wants to persuade the Taliban to not host Uighur fighters in its territory. In a series of previous meetings, Chinese officials sought assurances from the Afghan Taliban that they will not export radicalism to Xinjiang or destabilise China’s strategic northwest.