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We know how to deal with you: India warns Pakistan
Published on 16 Mar. 2010 11:32 PM IST
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In a blunt warning to Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao declared here that India’s restraint should not be seen as weakness and that it can deal effectively with those pursuing “destructive agendas” against it. “Despite the provocations we have faced constantly from terrorists whose linkages we have traced back to Pakistani soil, we have not abandoned the path of dialogue,” Rao said in an address Monday at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, a renowned Washington think tank. Rao said that like the US administration, “India, too, is concerned at the terror infrastructure that has been allowed to be established, take root and be used as an instrument of state policy in our immediate neighbourhood”. “Our heartland, our cities and our people are exposed to the threat of terrorism in a constant and almost unremitting way in a manner the US well understands, given the similar threats directed against the American people,” she said. Rao added that India was in the process of operationalising the India-US civil nuclear deal and stressed that New Delhi sees its case for permanent membership of the Security Council as “valid and legitimate”. India will also not scale down operations in Afghanistan despite terror attacks on its intetests, she said. “We feel it is vital for the international community to stay the course in Afghanistan.” But Rao focussed on terror threats from Pakistan, a US ally. India’s approach has been to deal with terrorism with restraint, she said. “However, our restraint should not be confused with weakness or unwillingness to act against those that seek to harm our people, create insecurity, and hamper our developmental goals. “We are a strong country and we possess the capacity to deal effectively with those that pursue destructive agendas against India and its people. “We have, time and again, made genuine attempts to address outstanding issues, most importantly, the issue of terrorism through dialogue with Pakistan,” she said, referring to her meeting in New Delhi with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir of Pakistan. “But it continues to be our conviction that for this dialogue to really make progress, Pakistan should take meaningful steps to address our concerns on terrorism, and cease the encouragement of terrorism targeted against India.” Referring to US military aid to Pakistan, Rao said it is “important that there are strict accountability criteria that apply to defence assistance rendered to Pakistan for operations against terrorists and insurgents on the border with Afghanistan”. Indian officials say that Islamabad has in the past used American military assistance against India. Rao described the India-US nuclear deal as “a major definitive milestone in Indo-US relationship”. “We are in the process of operationalising the agreement through close coordination between our two governments.” The civil nuclear liability bill is ready for introduction, and in all likelihood it would be introduced after the parliament recess, she said. The bill was to be introduced in the Lok Sabha Monday but the government withdrew it at the eleventh hour in the face of stiff opposition from the opposition. Seeking US support for India’s membership of the UN Security Council, she said: “Both our governments are agreed that the new global realities require that we revisit and reorganize existing governance models which were put in place over six decades ago. “We see our case for permanent membership of the Security Council as valid and legitimate. We seek the support of the US in this endeavour.” Rao said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would participate in the Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by Obama next month. “We believe the summit can be milestone in addressing the threat of nuclear terrorism.” On Afghanistan, she said: “The deteriorating situation is one of the foremost security related challenges faced by our region. We feel it is vital for the international community to stay the course in Afghanistan.” Referring to the latest attacks on Indians in Kabul Feb 26, she said: “The international community should understand that such attempts, if unchecked, will only embolden the forces that held sway in Afghanistan in the 1990s and caused the tragedy of 9/11.” “We are not scaling down our operations in Afghanistan, we are taking all necessary security measures to safeguard Indian lives there,” she added.

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