It was on Friday that Sneha Dubey's name started popping up everywhere on the internet-- and for good reason. During the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan hit out at India's “reign of terror” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to “purge India of Muslims”. In a pre-recorded video that aired during the event, the Pakistani PM touched upon a lot of topics, including the ritual of tarnishing India's image on the global platform.
Choosing to give a fitting reply to the PM, India's diplomat Sneha Dubey decided to invoke her right to respond. Dubey, a first secretary at India’s UN mission, responded to Pakistan's allegations by accusing the country of nurturing terrorists and having sheltered Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. "Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbours. Our region, in fact, the entire world has suffered because of their policies," she responded.
Responding to Khan's claims about treatment of minorities in India, Dubey said, "Today, the minorities in Pakistan, the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, live in constant fear and state-sponsored suppression of their rights. This is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalised by its leadership and even justified."
Dubey, an IFS (Indian Foreign Service) officer, dreamed of joining the foreign service since she was 12. It was in 2012 that she achieved this dream by clearing the civil service exam in her first attempt. After completing her school studies from Goa, she graduated from Fergusson College in Pune and culminated it with an MPhil in International Studies from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.
On Friday, Dubey clearly proved why she was right for the job by rebutting Pakistan's attack on India, which the world has come to expect during every UN conference. Dubey said, "This is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has misused platforms provided by the UN to propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world's attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down."
"This is a country which has been globally recognized as one openly supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists as a matter of State policy. It holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN Security Council."
In the recording, Khan said that Pakistan "desires peace with India" but it is "contingent upon resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and the wishes of the Kashmiri people".
To this Dubey replied, "Let me reiterate here that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation."
On the conditions for peace, she said, "We desire normal relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. However, it is for Pakistan to work sincerely towards creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross border terrorism against India in any manner."
After Dubey gave the right of reply speech, a Counsellor in Pakistan's UN Mission, Saima Saleem, replied to the right of reply.
Saleem repeated many elements of Khan's speech, in addition to quoting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN human rights bodies, ignoring their scorching criticism of her country.