New Delhi: India yet again made a mild snub at Pakistan and counselled it that individual members of reputed fora like Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) must stop and think before raising issues that are "not on the agenda" and which find no resonance in the wider membership.
"NAM never was and never can be a platform for pursuits aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of a State by another State," said Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan at the 75th United Nations General Assembly Ministerial Meeting of the NAM on Friday.
Addressing the virtual ministerial meeting of the NAM, hosted by Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi raised the issues of Kashmir and Palestine.
The Movement must address emerging and existing challenges, Qureshi said adding,
"NAM and the international community must strengthen the calls for a just, peaceful and expeditious resolution" of issues in Kashmir and Palestine.
However, in his address, Indian MoS Muraleedharan said, the strength of the NAM family lies in its diversity and its shared developmental experience.
NAM has the potential to take the lead in addressing the primary issues of our times, he said. "When we stand together and speak in one voice, for instance in our Movement's steadfast commitment to the cause of Palestine, we can and do have a decisive influence on global outcomes - we can be a force for good," he said but at the same time maintained that on the other hand, "if we take up issues that divide rather than unite us, reducing our Movement to a platform for venting bilateral grievances or for embarrassing fellow Members, we will soon become a weak and irrelevant entity".
In such a scenario, NAM can have no say "at all in global decision making".
"Even as we call for effective and reformed multilateralism, we need to introspect, reform and revitalise the current arrangements of our Movement....," he said.
The Minister said NAM has a glorious past. "However, how the future will judge us will depend on how we perform in addressing the defining challenges of our era".
It may be mentioned that in his address to the NAM Summit (through video conference) earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on May 4: "Even as the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses. Such as terrorism. Such as fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries". Though no country was named, it was clear that Modi was directing his ire against Pakistan.
In his address on Friday, October 9, MoS Muraleedharan also referred to 'fake news' and said: "Terrorism and their enablers continue to spread their tentacles unabated. Misinformation and fake news are wreaking havoc on social cohesion and collective security". Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had given the SAARC meet on Covid-19 a slip and had instead nominated his Health Minister to speak.
It was "churlish" of Pakistan to politicise a humanitarian issue by raking up the Kashmir matter at a video conference between SAARC leaders held with an aim to chalk out a joint strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Indian government sources had said. Pakistan had deputed state Minister of Health Zafar Mirza.
However, besides Modi; Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had participated in the video conference.