Pakistan, not India, exporting terrorism: PM (Intro Roundup)

October 11th, 2009 - 7:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Oct 11 (IANS) Denying that India was to blame for terror in Balochistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said it was Pakistan that was patronizing terrorism and causing “great harm” to South Asia.

Visiting Mumbai on the last day of campaigning for the Maharashtra assembly elections, slated for Tuesday, Manmohan Singh also asked Maoist guerrillas to shed violence and initiate a dialogue with the government.

“The government and people of Pakistan should realise the great harm that patronization of terrorist groups has done to South Asia,” the prime minister told reporters here.

He said the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan “is not what it should be. The rising role of terrorist groups (in the two countries) is a matter of concern to all of us.”

“We have to make adequate preparations to deal with the consequences of this overflow of terrorism from our neighbours to our country. We are taking all necessary measures in this direction,” he added.

Manmohan Singh’s comments came hours after the Pakistani military ended a bloody siege of its army headquarters in Rawalpindi, and three days after a car bomb exploded outside the Indian embassy in Kabul.

The prime minister denied Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s allegation that India was responsible for the rising wave of terrorism in Balochistan province.

Manmohan Singh said Islamabad’s allegation was “totally wrong”.

“We are not in the business of exporting terrorism to Pakistan or any other country,” the prime minister said. “The people and government of Pakistan jolly well know this is a false accusation.”

He said that diplomatic pressure from India and other countries had forced Pakistan to admit for the first time that its nationals were involved in the Mumbai terror assault that killed some 170 people.

“For the first time Pakistan admitted that it (attack) had its origins in Pakistan, the conspiracy leading to the tragedy in Mumbai was hatched in Pakistan, that citizens of Pakistan were involved. Pakistan had never before agreed to this… So there is some progress,” he said.

Manmohan Singh reiterated Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s call to Maoists to shun violence. At the same time, he said the country would see “positive developments” in the coming months in the war against Maoists.

“The home minister has made it very clear when he was in Mumbai (last week). If the Maoists shed violence, we are ready for talks,” Singh asserted.

When asked whether the government would treat Maoists as ‘terrorists”, the prime minister said that their organisations have been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

He made it clear that the government would take “effective steps” to counter them.

Responding a specific query whether the air force would be allowed to fire back at the Maoists if attacked, Manmohan Singh said: “We are not in favour of use of armed forces (against Maoists). There are other instruments. Police and paramilitary forces are adequate to tackle them.”

“I always maintain that Naxalism (Maoism) is the greatest internal threat to our security. The government is taking all possible measures to deal with the menace. In the months to come, you will see some positive development in this regard.”

“I often say that the growth of Naxalism, particularly in central India, obliges us to look at the sense of alienation among certain sections of the society, especially tribals…” Manmohan Singh said.

“But law and order is the primary responsibility of a civilised state, and no group of citizens should be allowed to take law into their hands.”

The prime minister also expressed hope that a good rabi crop would positively influence the inflation scenario.

“Prices of some things have risen… The rabi crop will be normal, I am hopeful, and it will have an affect on inflation. The worst is over, it seems,” he said.

On the issue of inter-linking rivers, Manmohan Singh said that work on the proposal was in progress and added that “environmental concerns” were slowing it down.

He made it clear that the government did not want to interfere in deciding the salaries of CEOs of companies.

“I had raised the issue in a general way. The government has no such intention in imposing salary restrictions on CEOs.”

Later in the day, the prime minister held a closed-door meeting with a group of intellectuals and businessmen from the city.

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