ISLAMABAD: Days after New Delhi responded rather disgustingly to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to share the experience of Ehsaas cash initiative with India, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday advised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to focus on its domestic issues instead of “behaving like an expansionist nation”.
In a series of tweets, Qureshi said: “It would serve PM Modi’s government and ‘neighbourhood first’ policy well to realise India’s neighbours pose far less of a problem than their own domestic inadequacies, failures and fascism.”
The foreign minister also criticised India for “igniting border disputes with every neighbour” and said that the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government should be “focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better”.
Perhaps with necessary introspection, the current Indian government would be less focussed on igniting border disputes with every neighbour, behaving like an expansionist nation, and more focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better. https://t.co/E90ErNcg7S
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) June 14, 2020
Prime Minister Imran, through a tweet on Thursday, offered to “help and share [the government’s] successful cash transfer programme, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India”. The PTI government has launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme under which about 12 million lower-income families each received Rs12,000 to cover basic needs for three months.
Our govt successfully transferred Rs. 120 billion in 9 weeks to over 10 million families in a transparent manner to deal with the COVID19 fallout on the poor.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 11, 2020
The prime minister’s offer came after a study by the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) concluded that about 84 per cent of Indian households were suffering from a decline in income due to the pandemic.
In addition to the economic setback, the virus has also fuelled hate against Muslims in India as well as insecurities among the poor people who have lost work due to the government’s measures to curb the spread.
Indian forces often resort to aggression at the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border along the disputed Kashmir region, and target soldiers as well as civilians in “unprovoked” attacks, which results in damage to both life and property.
Apart from its disputes with Pakistan, India is currently engaged in a standoff with China’s forces in the remote snow desert of Ladakh where hundreds of soldiers have been ranged against each other since April in the most serious border flare-ups for years after Chinese patrols advanced into what India deems its side of the de facto border.
Both sides are holding talks and, according to an Indian official, after weeks of tension — including an incident in which patrolling soldiers from the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, resulting in injuries — friction has eased somewhat.
Another conflict India is involved in is with Nepal, who has protested to India over a border road, which it claims traverses its territory. New Delhi denies the charge.
Protests in Nepal were also fuelled from a new map of the region India drew after the bifurcation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in December last year.