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These Indian women diplomats have given fiery responses to Pakistan at UN in last 5 years

Sneha Dubey, India's First Secretary at the UN, made waves for her reply to Pakistan PM last week. She joins the ranks of diplomats Eenam Gambhir, Vidisha Maitra and Paulomi Tripathi.

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New Delhi: Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York Saturday, in which he spoke about terrorism and extremism, Sneha Dubey, India’s First Secretary at the UN, made headlines for delivering a fiery speech in response to Pakistan.

“Pakistan holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UNSC. Osama bin Laden got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorify him as ‘martyr’,” Dubey said at the UNGA, adding that Islamabad is an “arsonist” disguising itself as “firefighter”.

The 2012-batch IFS officer was exercising India’s Right of Reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statements at the UNGA. Right of Reply is a UN procedure that usually occurs after the day’s events or meetings, in which a delegation has the right to defend itself against public criticism in the same venue.

Several social media users lauded Dubey’s “befitting reply”, while some called her a “lioness”.  

In the last five years, three other young women diplomats from India, Eenam Gambhir, Vidisha Maitra and Paulomi Tripathi, have also hit out at Islamabad over terrorism and the Kashmir issue at the UN.  

ThePrint traces the careers of these four women and the speeches they made at the UN that caught everyone’s attention.

Also read: Avoid shifting goalposts, boundary question different from border affairs, India tells China

Sneha Dubey, the latest one

Born and raised in Goa, Dubey received a bachelor’s degree from Fergusson College, Pune, and a Masters in Geography from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She later pursued an MPhil from the School of International Studies in JNU. 

“Ever since I was 12, I wanted to be a part of the Indian Foreign Service,” she said in a 2013 interview with a magazine published by UPSC training centre Chanakya IAS Academy.

In the interview, she also mentioned that nobody in her family has a background in IFS, and she passed her UPSC exam in 2011 in the first attempt. 

After graduating from the 2012 batch, she worked at the Ministry of External Affairs as an undersecretary and later served as the third secretary at the embassy for India in Madrid, Spain.

Vidisha Maitra, who slammed Imran for ‘defending’ bin Laden

In September 2019, Maitra made headlines for her blistering reply to Imran Khan after he warned of a “bloodbath” in Jammu and Kashmir at the UNGA. Serving then as the first secretary at the Permanent Mission of India at the UN, Maitra said, “Can Pakistan PM confirm that it is home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN as of today?”

She further asked: “Would PM Imran Khan deny to the city of New York that he was an open defender of Osama bin Laden?” 

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi had hailed the diplomat for “nailing every single lie spoken by Pakistan PM”.

Maitra is a 2009-batch IFS officer, who won the ‘best training officer’ gold medal for her performance during training. She previously served as undersecretary (policy, planning, and research) at the Ministry of External Affairs. 

Last November, she was elected to the UN Advisory Committee on Administration and Budgetary Questions, a subsidiary organ of the UNGA that ensures fund contributions to the UN are put to good use and mandates are properly funded.

This was a crucial role given India was preparing to sit in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 2021.

Also read: PM Modi raised H-1B visa issue with President Biden in bilateral meeting: Foreign Secretary

Paulomi Tripathi, who called out fake news

In September 2017, Tripathi turned heads when she gave a reply to former Pakistan UN Representative Maleeha Lodhi, a day after Lodhi showed a photograph to the UNGA of a Gaza woman as “victim of pellet gun injury in Kashmir”. 

Tripathi clarified that the picture actually showed a girl from Palestine, not Kashmir. “A fake picture to push a completely false narrative,” Tripathi retorted. 

She then held up another photograph of Lt. Ummer Fayaz, an Army officer who was murdered when he was on leave to attend a wedding. “This is a real and not a fake picture of Lt. Ummer Fayaz… He was brutally tortured and killed by Pakistan supported terrorists in May 2017,” she said.

A 2007-batch IFS officer, Tripathi most recently served as deputy secretary at foreign service personnel and cadre division of the Ministry of External Affairs. She was also counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

Eenam Gambhir, who hit out at Nawaz Sharif

In September 2016, Gambhir made waves for calling former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UNGA a “long tirade” about the situation in Kashmir.

“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’,” she said.

Gambhir, a 2005 batch IFS officer, currently serves as the director of the multilateral economic relations division in the Ministry of External Affairs, dealing with issues related to G-20, BRICS and G-7.

She previously served as counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN and senior advisor on peace and security issues in the Office of the UNGA President. She also worked in Indian embassies in Mexico and Argentina.

Gambhir holds two postgraduate degrees — an MSc in Mathematics from Delhi University, and a Masters in Advanced International Security from the University of Geneva.

Also read: Pakistan has been an ‘instigator’ of problems in India’s neighbourhood, Foreign Secretary Shringla says


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