War no option, India should sustain global pressure: Tharoor

December 11th, 2008 - 11:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) India should mount “sustained international pressure” on Pakistan to dismantle terror camps and press the UN to take action against Islamabad for reneging on its anti-terror obligations, former UN official and author-diplomat Shashi Tharoor said here Thursday while cautioning New Delhi against exercising the military option. “India should sustain international pressure on Pakistan to take action against terrorists and terror outfits,” Tharoor said in a lecture on ‘Terrorism: Mumbai and After’ in the parliament building here.

“It (international pressure) has to be done by India and its allies,” said Tharoor, stressing that India has to sustain global pressure not just in the short-term but would have to do it consistently and relentlessly.

“That’s a challenge for our diplomacy,” said Tharoor, former UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information who contested for the position of UN Secretary-General in 2006 but lost out to Ban ki-Moon.

Tharoor stressed that the attackers of Mumbai wanted to “dent India’s emergence as an economic giant” and chose Mumbai as it was a city “emblematic of India’s energetic thrust into the 21st century.”

He said the Nov 26 Mumbai strikes were not just an attack on India, but on the world because foreigners from 13 countries were as well targeted in India for the first time, attracting global indignation and outrage.

This pressure, he said, can be exerted by the US on Pakistan as the American military and intelligence have known their Pakistani counterparts for decades, he said.

Cautioning India against war or military strike against Pakistan - which, he said, would play into the hands of the powerful anti-India forces in Pakistan - Tharoor said India should explore diplomatic options like pressing the UN for ratification of a comprehensive convention against terrorism.

Chapter 7 of the UN Charter asks member states to take action against terrorists and to share information with the UN’s counter-terror activities, Tharoor noted. India could make a strong case in the UN that Pakistan is in breach of these obligations, Tharoor said.

He added that there was “an emerging international consensus that the Mumbai attacks were planned by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned militant outfit, which was supported by those elements in Pakistan which wanted to hurt India’s emerging power status”.

Tharoor, the author of acclaimed books like “From Midnight to the Millennium” and “The Great Indian Novel”, also suggested that India should try to rope in China, Pakistan’s most important ally, to make Islamabad see reason, as well as Saudi Arabia, from where some of these terrorists garner funds in the name of Islamic charities.

Rejecting war as an option, Tharoor said that it will be a war which no one will win, and underlined that it will only end up “strengthening anti-India nationalism in Pakistan”.

“We will undermine our allies in Pakistan and play into the hands of terrorists who want to use the war with India to divert troops from its western Afghan border,” he said.

Tharoor also underscored the need for Pakistan to make “real” efforts towards dismantling terror camps and making “genuine arrests” of suspected terrorists.

Echoing the Indian government’s message to Pakistan to take genuine, concrete action, Tharoor reminded the audience of cosmetic action taken by then president Pervez Musharraf by freezing assets of terrorist outfits, but only by giving them enough time to transfer money to other accounts. “We want Pakistan to launch a serious investigation and prosecute the perpetrators of the Mumbai horror,” he said.

“Pakistan must realise that the Islamic extremism nurtured by a succession of Pakistani leaders has come back to haunt them like a Frankenstein’s monster and it is in their interests to curb them,” he stressed.

Tharoor blamed the “disproportionate and distorted influence” of the military-ISI establishment in Pakistan which continues to believe that it was “cheaper and cost-effective for them to bleed India from within rather than to defeat India in a conventional war.”

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