No option closed if Pakistan does not deliver, says India (Lead)

December 22nd, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Asking the international community to see the terror infrastructure in Pakistan as “the greatest threat to world peace”, India Monday said it had not “closed any options”, including a military strike, if Islamabad did not fulfil its anti-terror pledge. “If there will be any military conflict nobody declares it in media. We have kept all our options open,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters when asked if India and Pakistan were heading towards a military conflict.

“To achieve that objective (to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack to book) we are not closing any options because our people have died,” Mukherjee said.

“We will expect from Pakistan to do whatever they have committed to do and fulfil their promises as respectful member of the community of nations,” he said.

“No nation can shrug its responsibility to fulfil promises,” Mukherjee said on the sidelines of a three-day conclave of nearly 130 heads of India’s missions abroad in the Indian capital that began Monday.

Mukherjee ruled that India’s relations with each of its neighbours were better than before except for Pakistan because of continuing cross-border terror.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan’s response so far has demonstrated their earlier tendency to resort to a policy of denial and to seek to deflect and shift the blame and responsibility,” he told Indian envoys while providing an overview of India’s strategy in dealing with terrorism from Pakistan.

“We expect the civilian government of Pakistan to take effective steps to deal with elements within Pakistan who still continue the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” he said.

“We have so far acted with utmost restraint and are hopeful that the international community will use its influence to urge the Pakistani government to take effective action,” he said, alluding to Islamabad’s Jan 6, 2004 and Sep 24, 2008 pledges to not allow its territory to be used as a launching pad for terror attacks against India.

“While we continue to persuade the international community and Pakistan, we are also clear that ultimately it is we who have to deal with this problem. We will take all measures necessary as we deem fit to deal with the situation.”

This is the first meeting of the heads of Indian missions across the world. It is aimed at briefing envoys on leading diplomatic challenges in which India is expected to play a major role in days to come.

“This (Mumbai attacks) and the series of terrorist incidents preceding it, including the attack on our embassy in Kabul where we lost our colleagues, indicate that terrorism emanating out of Pakistan is acquiring an increasingly dangerous dimension and continues to threaten peace and stability in this region and beyond,” he said.

Referring to India’s efforts to generate international pressure on Pakistan to force it to act against terror outfits, Mukherjee said: “We have so far worked at several levels. At the international level we have sought the support of the international community to put pressure on Pakistan to deal effectively with the terrorism.

“We have highlighted that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has to be dismantled permanently. We are not saying this just because we are affected but because we believe that it will be good for the entire world and also for Pakistani people and society,” he said.

“This terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is the greatest terrorist danger to peace and security of the entire civilised world,” he added.

In a message aimed at the US and other influential players like Britain, Mukherjee stressed that the international community needed to do much more so that “actions should be pursued to their logical conclusion”.

“We need effective steps not only to bring those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to justice, but also to ensure that such acts of terrorism do not recur,” he said.

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