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India Hits Back at Pakistan, Calling Archrival 'Terrorist State'

By Ayaz Gul September 22, 2016

India has reacted sharply to Pakistan's criticism of its suppression of protests in Kashmir, calling the archrival a "terrorist state."

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while speaking Wednesday to the annual U.N. General Assembly, demanded an independent probe into what he called "the extra-judicial killings" and "atrocities" in Kashmir to punish those responsible.

Indian U.N. diplomat Eenam Gambhir exercised her country's right of reply by dismissing Sharif's speech as "hypocritical sermons."

"What India sees in Pakistan is a terrorist state, which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbors," she said.

Gambhir blamed Pakistan for plotting Sunday's rebel assault on an Indian military base in Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers.

She also slammed Sharif for supporting "a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen."

The Indian envoy was referring to the July 8 killing of a 22-year-old separatist militant, Burhan Wani, by Indian forces.

Wani's killing has incited violent protests across Indian Kashmir, where curfews and strikes have forced the closing of markets, offices and educational institutions.

Indian security forces have been criticized for shooting tiny pellets to disperse protesters. Thousands of people have been wounded, with many sustaining eye injuries, while more than 70 people – including security forces – have died.

India has blamed Pakistan, which controls one-third of Kashmir, for fueling the unrest; charges Islamabad denies.

The neighbors are currently locked in a war of words that has raised bilateral tensions over Kashmir, the cause of two of the three wars between India and Pakistan since they both gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sharif reiterated that without resolving the Kashmir dispute, peace between the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations cannot be achieved.

"But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue. Let us be clear: Talks are no favor to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and to avert the danger of any escalation," Sharif said.

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