India and Pakistan clashed at the UN General Assembly with the former labelling the country "Terroristan" and saying that it has destabilised the sub-continent region. The Indian delegation held nothing back in a stinging riposte to the speech made by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday (21 September).

The two nuclear powers are going through a tense phase in their troubled relationship, with frequent cross-border incidents and frontier violations taking place over the past few months. The dispute is centred on who controls the border state of Kashmir, and a solution seems quite a long way off.

With this tense political atmosphere serving as a backdrop, Abbasi used his UN address to try and put pressure on India by accusing New Delhi of deploying "massive and indiscriminate force" in Kashmir.

"Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LoC [Line of Control], or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response," said the Pakistani leader, who took charge as prime minister of the country recently after his predecessor Nawaz Sharif was unceremoniously removed.

"We ask that the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights send an inquiry commission to occupied Kashmir," he demanded, despite India's staunch stance that matters related to Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally without any interference from third parties.

Angered by Pakistan's use of an international platform to escalate matters, India did not wait for its turn to address the assembly on Saturday (23 September). Instead, it used its right of reply to respond to the Pakistani delegation's remarks.

"In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure has actually produced 'the land of pure terror'. Pakistan is now Terroristan, with a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism," said Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, in a statement.

The Indian diplomatic delegation went on to add, "This is a country whose counter-terrorism policy is to mainstream and upstream terrorists by either providing safe havens to global terror leaders in its military town or protecting them with political careers."

India Pakistan clash at UN
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York Eduardo Munoz/Reuters