NEW DELHI: India has hit out at Pakistan for pursuing terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”, saying such a strategy was “flawed and self-defeating”.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who is likely to meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Thimphu on the margins of a SAARC Committee meeting, said “Some countries presume that they can pursue terrorism as an instrument of state policy without risks to themselves or to their standing in the international community.
“This is a flawed and self-defeating presumption as the war on terrorism cannot be selective. We have always maintained that a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest. Pakistan must turn away from using terror-induced coercion as an instrument of policy against India.”
Rao, who was delivering a speech at a seminar on ‘Asian Security Challenges’ asserted that “the epicentre of global terrorism is located in our neighbourhood”.
Apart from asking Pakistan to fulfil its commitment of not allowing its territory to be used against anti-India acts during the meeting, Rao is also expected to raise India’s demand for expeditious punishment for all those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks especially in view of Home Secretary G K Pillai’s recent remarks that attempts to bring the guilty in Mumbai attacks to justice “has not moved an inch” in Pakistan.
Noting that the horrendous attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the Mumbai attacks two years ago demonstrated the barbaric forms that terrorism can take, Rao said there are terror groups, some that even enjoy the patronage of elements of state structures, that target India from across our borders.
“These groups are developing transnational linkages, in terms of recruitment, training, planning and financing of specific attacks. There is increasing evidence that Al-Qaeda, the LeT and the Taliban are conducting coordinated and in fact operationally fused terror attacks,” she said.
The roll back and elimination of the terror infrastructure in Pakistan can go a long way in securing stability and security not just in South Asia, but more widely across Asia and indeed the globe, the Foreign Secretary said.
Without naming Pakistan, Rao also criticised it for interfering with Afghanistan’s internal affairs in the name of ‘strategic depth’.
“The Afghan people should be allowed to rebuild their land in conditions of peace and security, free from interference from their neighbours. The Afghan people have time and again proven that they would like to be arbiters of their own destiny and would not like to be dictated to by those seeking to impose their own narrow strategic calculations.
“Any attempts to seek so called strategic depth would flounder against the reality of the indomitable sense of Afghan independence and nationalism,” she said.