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Friday, September 23, 2016

young Eenam Gambhir slams Pak at UN General Assembly - calls it 'Ivy league of terrorism'

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have traded pointed barbs at the UN general assembly, in a rhetorical exchange that underlines the deep differences between the two sides – and the dim prospects for meaningful dialogue.  Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, invited the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to address the Israeli parliament and said he was willing to speak to the Palestinian legislative council in Ramallah. But Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that the central problem was Palestinian rejectionism, not Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The two leaders’ speeches reflected their very different personal styles, with Netanyahu relying heavily on the theatrical and confrontational style he has brought to his recent general assembly addresses that have seen him deploy props and, last year, a period of silence.

Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism…  that is how  First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, described Pakistan soon after its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ended his speech at the UNGA debate on September 21. Exercising India’s right to reply after Sharif’s address, which focused mostly on what he described as violation of human rights in Kashmir, the delegate said Pakistan was a “terrorist state” which conducted “war crimes” against Indians through its “long-standing policy” of sponsoring terrorism.

Its uncommon for a diplomat of relatively junior rank to make headlines. Most times, they are relegated to doing the running around to make their seniors or political masters look good. And if they do hit the headlines, it’s mostly for the wrong reasons.  But when Eenam Gambhir, first secretary at the Permanent Mission of India in New York, took the floor to exercise India’s Right to Reply following a combative speech by Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif accusing India of human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir, she won only praise back home. Relatively low-profile till now,  she is a celebrity with millions of searches made on the web about her.  Gambhir’s crisp speech—carefully drafted and vetted by senior Indian diplomats —rebutted Sharif point by point though she took much less than her allotted seven minutes.

*Ivy*  is a widely cultivated evergreen climbing plant (Hedera helix) native to Eurasia.   Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the North eastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group;  Ivy League has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism.

Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly session on Wednesday, said Pakistan wants peace with India but maintained it is "not possible without resolving the Kashmir issue". The premier reiterated Pakistan's stance of resolving the issue of Kashmir through dialogue with India and said Pakistan has "gone the extra mile to achieve this".  As the unfriendly neighbour has done often, there was reference to the death of Burhan Wani  - referred as a leader of peaceful freedom movement.  One cannot fault him – for that is what ‘peace’ means in the strife-torn neighbouring country. 

It was to be rebutted .. Rejecting Pakistan’s repeated demand to the United Nations to resolve the Kashmir dispute, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan and India should address their issues, including Kashmir, through “dialogue”.  Already India is experiencing the pain of its martyred soldiers at Uri – Eenam Gambhir, the first secretary of the Permanent Mission of India to the UN grabbed the opportunity to exercise the right to reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).  She not only slammed Pakistan for calling HizbulMujahideen commander BurhanWani a patriot but also called it a “terrorist state” which keep on funding terrorist activities.  While calling Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in Jammu andKashmir at the UNGA, she called Pakistan a host to the “Ivy League of terrorism”and “global epicenter of terrorism”

“What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she said. She also accused Pakistan of channelizing billions of dollars from international aid, to train, support and finance terrorist groups in its region. “That terrorist attack is part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country,” she a said while mentioning about Uri attack that claimed 18 Indian lives.

Firstpost today writes  that a  “brainstrust” of 5 senior staffers sitting around Syed Akbaruddin's desk on the 4th  floor of India's permanent mission to the US in New York's East 43rd  St put their heads together to write up the 513 word stinger that has broken free from the trap of knotty officialese while Pakistan errs on the other extreme with cuckoo outbursts at its annual whine fest in New York City. Syed Akbaruddin, a 1985 batch IFS officer, is India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations - the boss in the New York outpost.

The applause for India's strident tone, content and the brevity of the rebuttal on September 21 has been stirring. “Deception”, “deceit”, “lies”, “terrorism”, “toxic curriculum”, “sermons”, “preaching” - the word cloud from India’s rap taps into the collective loathing Indians feel about Pakistan’s web of lies. No wonder then that the Eenam Gambhir slam dunk is taking a dizzy ride on social media platforms.  By slamming Pakistan’s baloney so hard on the world stage, India is responding to the change in how audiences consume foreign policy and meeting them where they are, in language that is evocative yet blunt, something that appeals to outliers who are shunning elitism in droves.

Short attention spans have been fully factored in - a 500 worder for a Pakistan pushback is as good as it gets.  Firstpost adds that the decision (of Gambhir speaking) was taken well before the group  finished writing this.  It was the youngest officer, a woman at that.  A top diplomat who oversaw the latest India offensive to the last detail admits there is a deliberate change in style. “Diplomacy has to reach audiences spead across wide swathes of the world, not just Indians in a limited sphere of operation,” he said.  “If they want to come to the United Nations and talk about India, we will do what we have to do. Our default position is that this has to be sorted out bilaterally, however if you (Pakistan) bring this to the UN, we have a counter narrative ready which is stronger,” says the official.

Every paragaph of the India counter has at least one mention of the word terrorism — This was a consensus among the group of five who authored that powerful speech.  Apart from being chosen for being the youngest, Gambhir as the woman factor was strategy, not randomness. “They (Pakistan) talked about women and all that bluster, we said chalo, we’ll send a woman in reply. The optics are not lost on us. We got it right. The whole world could see that the bullies were watching while Gambhir spoke." External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to raise the terror attacks in Uri and Pathankot in her speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) most likely on September 26.

The United Nations General Assembly  is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation.  The General Assembly meets under its president or Secretary-General in regular yearly sessions.  The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Westminster Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.

With regards- S. Sampathkumar
23rd Sept. 2016.


1 comment:

  1. Terrorism is a very serious and never ending serious. Until such time people of both parties agrees to comply with each other, terrorism will be here for ages. A topic that is often discussed via jumptheblog.com history series.

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