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Composite dialogue difficult with Pak: India
Washington/Panaji, Mar 17 (Agencies/IANS)
Published on 18 Mar. 2010 12:01 AM IST
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A day after Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna hinted at another round of official-level talks with Pakistan in Islamabad, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Tuesday said it was “very, very difficult” to resume the composite dialogue process at the moment. Addressing American intelligentsia at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Centre, Rao expressed concern over Pakistan’s inaction against perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, including Hafiz Saeed. According to the text of her speech and interaction with reporters, released by the External Affairs Ministry, she warned that India’s restraint should not be mistaken for its weakness. “... Please realise that there are groups in Pakistan that continue to follow an agenda of violence, of hatred,” Rao said in response to a question from a Pakistani national on why India was refusing to restart composite dialogue with Pakistan, which itself was a victim of terrorism. “I did not want to bring the name of Hafiz Saeed and Jamaatud Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba... We feel (they) continue to roam, to speak, to be allowed unhindered access to media and to channels to communicate that agenda (of violence). That affects us, our people are concerned about it,” she said. The general notion right now in India is that “we have suffered too much for too long”, Rao said. “It is very, very difficult to be convinced in such a situation that we should set aside these concerns and just move on. And that is why, I said when you talk of resuming composite dialogue (it) becomes very, very difficult to do that in the current situation,” she added. At the same time, she said the door for talks with Pakistan had never been closed. Speaking at the sidelines of the launch of India Coast Guard ship in Panaji, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said Pakistan “was not taking serious steps” to destroy 42 terror camps on its soil. Stating that India was “exploring all possibilities”, Antony also said he did not expect any “miracles” from the dialogue with Pakistan. “All the terror camps in Pakistan are active. Pakistan has not taken any serious steps to destroy these camps,” Antony told a press conference on the sidelines of the launch of Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Vishwast at the port town of Vasco, 30 km from here. Reiterating his earlier statement, the Defence Minister said India was one of the important targets for terrorist groups and that there were 42 terror training camps in Pakistan which was aimed at creating violence in the country. Speaking on the issue of infiltration by militants from Pakistan into India, the defence minister attributed it to Jammu and Kashmir’s fast-paced return to normalcy. “Kashmir is becoming normal. Violence is less. This situation cannot be tolerated by forces inimical to India,” he said, adding that since “normalcy was coming to Kashmir fast, infiltration was increasing”. He said the Jammu and Kashmir Police had now become “efficient and committed”. The defence minister also said that “the involvement of the state government especially in regulating fishing activities and operationalising the coastal police stations is very important,” Antony said, adding that sensitisation of the coastal population, including education of fishermen, was necessary. Stressing that coastal security was of ‘utmost importance’ to the central government, Antony underlined the importance of the ICG, especially in view of the “delineation of the continental shelf and the resulting increase in the exclusive economic zones”. “It means that the ICG will have more sea area to monitor,” Antony said. Earlier, ICGS Vishwast was commissioned by Antony in the presence of the director general ICG, Anil Chopra, and Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.

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