India seeks Taliban defeat, asks Pakistan for ’sincere’ probe (Lead)

February 19th, 2009 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanNew Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) India Thursday called for “confronting and defeating” the Taliban that poses a threat to the region and the world, and asked Pakistan to conduct a “sincere probe” into the Mumbai attacks to bring the perpetrators of the carnage to justice.
“The Taliban propagates the cult of violence and represents the forces of religious intolerance,” Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on Monday’s peace deal between the Pakistan government and the local Taliban in the Swat Valley that has evoked concerns of India, the US and other Western countries.

“The Taliban has to be confronted and then defeated. There can’t be a brutal Taliban or a benign Taliban,” Sharma said while repudiating an attempt by some to make a distinction between moderate and extremist Taliban.

“Terrorism, in whatever form, has to be condemned and defeated. There is no cause that can justify the killing of civilians,” he said.

New Delhi is concerned that the deal with the Taliban, widely seen as a concession to militants, will provide a safe haven to militants that can pose a threat to India’s security.

Sharma also underscored the need for Pakistan to take “firm and demonstrative” action to dismantle the structure of terrorism in its territory.

“There has to be firm, sincere and demonstrative action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and to neutralise those elements that pose threat to this region and the entire world,” he said.

Alluding to Pakistan’s admission of the role of some of its nationals in the Mumbai attacks, Sharma said if they conducted “a sincere probe” they will find the painful truth about the identity of the plotters and the attackers of Mumbai.

Sharma added that India was ready to provide any details or clarifications sought by Pakistan if it helped in the prosecution of the attackers of Mumbai.

“It’s very clear where the attackers came from. Kasab was the only one caught after the attacks. But all the others have been identified,” Sharma said while referring to other nine terrorists who unleashed terror in Mumbai in November last year.

“Pakistan has made admission about their culpability,” he said.

The Pakistani government Monday approved a peace deal between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) administration and the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) of radical cleric Sufi Muhammad under which Shariat law would be introduced in seven districts of the province, including the Swat Valley the Taliban controls.

The cleric is currently in Swat for talks with his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, who heads the local Taliban in the area.

Sharma’s comments came a day after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee described the Taliban “a terrorist organisation”.

“Taliban believes in nothing but destruction and violence. The Taliban are a danger to humanity and civilisation,” Mukherjee had said.

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