Mumbai attacks targeted at India’s economic power ambitions: PM

December 23rd, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) Asking Pakistan to “dismantle the terror machine”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist strike was an “attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power”.“The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power,” Manmohan Singh told 116 Indian heads of missions who had gathered here for a three-day conclave that began Monday.

“India will not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple its economy or the values it stands for,” the prime minister stressed.

The conclave, the first of its kind, has been organised by the external affairs ministry to mentally prepare Indian diplomats to deal with new global challenges that will require a leading role in various global fora.

However, post-Mumbai attacks, the focus of the conclave has shifted to evolving a coherent strategy to mobilise international opinion to put pressure on Pakistan to act against terror outfits in that country.

Indicating a larger design behind the Mumbai attacks, for which India has blamed Pakistan-based elements, Manmohan Singh said: “Non-state actors were practising terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments.”

This is perhaps the first statement by the prime minister that points towards the complicity of sections of the Pakistani establishment like the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence in the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes.

With Pakistani leaders whipping up war hysteria, the prime minister sought to place the issues in perspective.

“The issue is not war. The issue is that the Pakistani territory is used to aid and abet terror,” Manmohan Singh told reporters outside parliament.

“We want Pakistan to make an objective effort to dismantle the terror machine. The government of Pakistan knows what it implies,” the prime minister stressed when asked about India’s options in the face of repeated denials by Pakistan of any complicity in the Mumbai attacks.

“We expect them as a member of the UN to comply with several UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions passed over the years,” Manmohan Singh said.

The prime minister was alluding to a recent resolution by the UN Security Council declaring the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a Pakistan-based militant outfit, as a terrorist organisation and imposing travel and assets freeze on four Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.

“We would like the international community to use its power of persuasion to persuade Pakistan to comply with the UNSC resolutions,” the prime minister said.

Manmohan Singh’s tough message to Islamabad comes a day after India handed over to Pakistan a letter written by Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Mumbai attacker in Indian custody, saying he and nine others who perpetrated the attacks were Pakistanis. Islamabad has denied this.

Denying the existence of any record that establishes Kasab’s national identity, Islamabad has said it will give “a detailed response” in a day or two.

Alluding to the international security environment, the prime minister underlined that threats such as terrorism and piracy required a “well-thought out strategy”.

“India sought peace and stability in its neighbourhood. The situation was, however, worrisome,” he told Indian envoys.

The prime minister, however, stressed that nothing will prevent India from becoming a major economic and knowledge power which was at peace with itself.

India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared in this direction and reflect the aspirations of its people, he said.

Seeking to place development at the centre of India’s foreign policy, the prime minister said that the biggest challenges faced by the country included the removal of poverty, disease and ignorance.

“The removal of poverty and emancipation of our people should be given the pride of place in India’s foreign policy,” he said.

“India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared to removing obstacles which stand in the way of achieving these objectives,” he said while highlighting the issues of food security, the management of water resources, energy security and overcoming technology denial regimes.

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