India rejects ‘diversionary’ tactics, asks Pakistan to take positive steps (Lead)

December 11th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) Rejecting “diversionary” tactics and “canards” by Islamabad in the wake of Mumbai’s bloody terror strikes, India Thursday sent a tough message to Pakistan asking it to move beyond “mere expressions of intent” and take “positive steps” to “dismantle” infrastructure of terrorism in its territory. Underlining that the Mumbai attacks were not an expression of the India-Pakistan problem but part of global terror, New Delhi made it clear that it was “not ready to be provoked” by propaganda and vowed that it will take resolute action which will convey the message that nobody dared attack India.

At the same time, India also ruled out a military option.

“We expect Pakistan to take some positive steps. It is for the Pakistan government to decide,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Indian parliament during a discussion on the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

“People expect this country to take resolute action which will convey the message that the territorial integrity of the country can’t be ignored. And nobody dare do it,” he said.

Unless the action is carried to its logical conclusion like banning terrorist outfits and the dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, it will not help, Mukherjee said in a tough message to Pakistan.

Alluding to some recent steps taken by Pakistani security agencies against terror outfits in that country, Mukherjee stressed that the crackdown on terror must be seen to be genuine.

“They are simply changing the signboard. Ideology is the same and activities are the same,” he said while referring to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a militant outfit suspected of having masterminded the Mumbai carnage, which resurrected itself under the banner of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

In an acknowledgment of JuD’s questionable activities, the UN Security Council Wednesday declared JuD, a public front of LeT that runs Islamic charities and schools, a terrorist organisation.

India suspects JuD chief Hanif Mohammed Saeed to be the chief mastermind of the Mumbai massacre. “Issues can’t be ducked. Issues can’t be sidelined,” Mukherjee stressed.

Likewise, Mukherjee debunked Pakistan’s step of putting Maulana Masood Azhar, a suspect in the 2001 attack on Indian parliament, under house arrest.

“Criminal laws are the same in every country. Either a criminal is put in judicial custody or police custody,” the minister said, signaling India’s exasperation with what is seen here as tokenism to appease the international community that is also mounting pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against terror outfits.

In a similar vein, Mukherjee questioned the argument made by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari who said that the terrorists were non-state actors over which he had no control.

“Are non-state actors coming from heaven or did they come from another planet? Non-state actors were operating from the territory of a country,” Mukherjee said.

Days after New Delhi served a demarche to Islamabad Dec 1, Mukherjee said that India has asked Pakistan to return 40 fugitives from Indian law who have been “indicted” in different terrorist and criminal activities in India.

“We have not given them a list of not 20 persons, but 40 persons,” he said. The 40 most wanted include mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, who is suspected of plotting the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

“We have given these names at every home secretary-level talks and at every meeting of foreign secretaries of the two countries. We have given these names duringfour meetings of anti-terror mechanism,” Mukherjee said.

“What we are telling the government of Pakistan is to act. Mere expression of intent is not enough,” he stressed. “Denying will not solve the issue,” he added.

However, when an MP asked if India would attack Pakistan, Mukherjee said: “It is not a solution.”

Underlining global solidarity with India in the wake of the terror attacks, the minister underlined that the attack was part of global terror as it targeted and killed over 26 foreigners.

Mukherjee said that he had expressed regret to 13 foreign ministers of those countries whose citizens were among 179 killed in Mumbai. “We could not protect them. I sincerely apologise,” Mukherjee said.

“Most of them realised it is not our fault. Terrorism has a dimension which is not confined to territorial boundary of any state. It has become a cross-border and international phenomenon,” Mukherjee said while describing terrorism as “the biggest menace to world peace and tranquility since the Cold War”.

Alluding to a global outpouring of sympathy for India in the wake of Mumbai attacks, Mukherjee called for mobilising support of the international community to force Pakistan to take action against terrorists and terrorist outfits in that country.

“We should build up a campaign. This is not an India-Pakistan problem. This is part of global terrorism,” he said.

Exposing the larger “design” of terrorists, Mukherjee said they targeted major cities of India, including Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mumbai this year to “deliberately harm the country”.

“We have no intention to be provoked. All sorts of propaganda have been whipped up. We have not suspended air links. Nothing has happened,” Mukherjee said while alluding to reports of a hoax call allegedly made in his name to Zardari that provoked the latter to put Pakistani forces on high alert.

“What is worrying us is if the establishment of a duly constituted government believes these things and act upon it, then it can sometimes cause problems,” he said while denying forcefully that he rang up Zardari days after the Mumbai attacks.

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