AfPak: India asks world to target terror sanctuariesJune 7th, 2011 - 12:36 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Underlining its commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, India Monday asked the international community to act against the continued existence of “safe sanctuaries” for terrorists outside its borders and warned against a “selective approach” to tackle this menace.
“Past experience has shown, however, that no country, however distant, can stay immune from the challenge posed by terrorist groups and the safe havens that they enjoy,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told his counterparts from 46 countries at the 10th foreign ministers’ meeting of the Asia-Europe (ASEM) forum in the Hungarian town Godollo.
“It is imperative for the international community to underline its long-term commitment to Afghanistan, as well as the importance of safeguarding the gains made in areas such as democracy and human rights,” he said in his intervention on the Afghan situation at the two-day meeting that began Monday.
“Continued existence of such sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan’s borders is a major impediment to restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said while alluding to the Kabul Conference Communique in July last year.
Krishna said that India’s assistance to Afghanistan’s development and reconstruction was not “a zero sum game,” and stressed that New Delhi will fulfil its commitment to Kabul despite persistent attacks on its assets and interests.
Alluding to the Taliban reintegration plan, Krishna also emphasized that the reconciliation process in Afghanistan has to be Afghan-led and reminded the world of the “redlines” to be observed while pursuing such a process.
“We fully respect the decisions of the government and people of Afghanistan and recognize the need for a political process which is Afghan-led, inclusive, transparent, and adheres to the ‘red-lines’ which the Afghan Government and the international community have agreed to,” he said.
These red lines for reintegration, he stressed, are crucial in the common endeavour of our countries to prevent Afghanistan sliding back to becoming a safe haven for terrorist and extremist groups.
In a separate statement on non-traditional threats, Krishna drew the attention of the world to threat of terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction and warned against a selective approach to terror.
“India has deep concerns about the nexus between fundamentalism, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction,” he said.
“Sanctuaries for terror infrastructure outside of our national borders are a continuing concern,” he said while describing terrorism as “a truly trans-national menace.”
“Political expediency, short-term gains, geo-political considerations, faulty analyses, etc. blur clarity on how to address the menace of international terrorism. All terror is unacceptable and has to be tackled comprehensively. A selective approach will not work,” he warned.
Krishna called for greater international collaboration in the sharing of information, countering the financing of terrorism, building capacity in anti-terror mechanisms, exchange of best practices and strengthening our mutual legal assistance and extradition regimes.
The restive situation in Libya and the pro-democracy change in parts of the Arab world will also figure in the discussions. India has opposed the NATO airstrikes against the North African country and backed the African Union’s position for a dialogue to end the crisis.
Set up in 1996, ASEM, which represents over half of the global population and accounts for more than half of the global GDP, held its first summit meeting at Bangkok.
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