India wants Pakistan to act against terror, rejects war hysteria (Roundup)

December 23rd, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi/Islamabad, Dec 23 (IANS) With Pakistan denying any link to the lone surviving Mumbai attacker, India Tuesday cautioned against “creating war hysteria” and asked Islamabad to address the real issue of “dismantling the terror machine” in that country. Taking a long-range view, New Delhi also indicated its preference for diplomatic options by asking the international community to intensify pressure on Islamabad to comply with the UN resolutions against terrorism.

Islamabad, however, continued with its “policy of denial” by rejecting India’s claims that Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Mumbai attacker in Indian custody, is a Pakistani national. The denial comes a day after New Delhi handed over to Islamabad a letter written by Kasab, saying he and the nine others who perpetrated the Mumbai attacks were Pakistanis.

In a carefully calibrated message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday underscored India’s growing impatience with diversionary tactics adopted by Islamabad as he appealed to the international community to pressurise Pakistan to honour its anti-terror commitments.

“The issue is not war, the issue is terror and territory in Pakistan being used to promote, aid and abet this terror,” Manmohan Singh told reporters outside parliament. “Nobody wants war,” he stressed.

“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.

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

The prime minister was alluding to recent UNSC committee’s resolution declaring Pakistan-based militant outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization 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 stressed.

Early in the day, Manmohan Singh addressed 116 Indian envoys who had gathered here for a three-day conclave and unveiled his government’s foreign policy priorities as India emerges as “an economic and knowledge power.”

“Non-state actors were practising terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments,” he said in a message aimed at Islamabad. “The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power. India would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India’s economy or the values it stands for,” he told the envoys.

In a similar tone, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Pakistan should focus on the issue. “The issue is not creating war hysteria or raising accusing fingers against others.”

“(The) question is there has been a sinister, heinous terrorist attack on Mumbai from elements in Pakistan. India has requested Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators,” he told reporters.

“The talk of war or creating war hysteria is diversionary. The issue is not defence of Pakistan but a terrorist attack on India from Pakistan,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters when asked about a steady stream of statements from Pakistani leaders about the right to defend their borders, in case of any Indian aggression.

India has accused “elements in Pakistan” for plotting and executing the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes that killed 179 people, including 26 foreigners. JuD, which packages itself as an Islamic seminary and charity, is a public front for the LeT, a banned terrorist organization which is suspected of masterminding the Mumbai strikes.

Predictably, Pakistan persisted with the all-too-familiar pattern of denial after the Mumbai attacks. Denying the existence any record that establishes Kasab’s national identity, Pakistan’s top Interior Minister adviser Rehman Malik Tuesday said Islamabad will give “a detailed response” in a day or two. He also reiterated that India has not given any official evidence to Pakistan so far.

The “letter itself is not ample proof”, Pakistan foreign ministry sources told Dawn News television channel. “The Indian government needs to provide ample proof to establish Kasab’s identity,” the sources told the channel.

Kasab, in the custody of Mumbai Police, has sought legal aid from Pakistan as no lawyer in India has come forward to defend him in court.

Despite official denials, former pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said in an interview that Kasab comes from Fardikot village in Pakistan. Sharif even criticized the curbs the Pakistani government and the intelligence agencies put on the movement of media persons and visitors to Faridkot village, which he said was cordoned off.

In a worrying development that points towards the Taliban-army nexus in Pakistan which some in India believe to be the drivers behind the Mumbai attacks, the Taliban chief said that they would back the Pakistan Army by deploying hundreds of suicide bombers in case of any military conflict with India.

“Thousands of our well-armed militants are ready to fight alongside the army if any war is imposed on Pakistan,” the leader of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud told The News daily by phone from an undisclosed location.

New Delhi sees the Taliban’s declaration to spring to the defence of Pakistan army as yet another proof of the well-known nexus, reliable sources told IANS.

It also points to the grand design of the planners of the Mumbai attacks to provoke India into a war-like situation so that the Pakistan Army finds an excuse not to fight the Taliban under American pressure and redeem its plummeting credibility in the country, sources said.

War hysteria plays into the hands of those sections in the Pakistani establishment who want to revive the India threat to stay in business, sources said.

New Delhi is, however, determined to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai savagery to account and has not kept any options closed, Mukherjee had told Indian envoys Monday.

In view of the heightening tension with Pakistan, the government on Tuesday rushed Army chief General Deepak Kapoor to Siachen Glacier and forward areas of Jammu and Kashmir to check the operational preparedness of the troops.

The US, too, kept up the pressure on Pakistan to deliver on its anti-terror pledge with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conveying a stern message to Islamabad to take urgent action against terrorist outfits in the Pakistani territory.

Interpol chief Ronald Noble Tuesday met Pakistan’s Interior Advisor Rehman Malik in Islamabad to discuss the Mumbai terror attacks.

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