Terror In India Not Linked To Kashmir: Pranab

11 December 2008
The Times of India


New Delhi: Slamming Pakistan for linking Mumbai attacks to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, India on Thursday asked it to take 'serious' action to completely dismantle terror infrastructure and end infiltration but maintained that war against the neighbour was not a solution. Talking tough in the Lok Sabha, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee raised questions over Pakistan's sincerity in curbing activities of terror groups operating from its soil as he suggested that 'house arrest' of Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed was not enough. Intervening in the debate in Lok Sabha on Mumbai attacks, he said India has repeatedly given Pakistan a list of 40 terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim, with a demand that they be handed over and expressed hope that Islamabad would respond positively. He asked Pakistan to come out of the 'denial mode' on existence of terrorists, including 'non-state actors', who operate from the confines of that country as he wondered: 'did the non-state actors come from heaven, did the non-state actors come from another planet?' Mukherjee also slammed Pakistan for creating a war 'hysteria' by indulging in 'propaganda' on the basis of a hoax call that 'big power' India was going to attack. 'That is not the solution,' he said when Shiv Sena member Mohan Rawale said India should attack Pakistan in the wake of the terror strikes. Rubbishing efforts by Pakistan to link the terror strikes to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, Mukherjee asserted that such a 'straight jacket simple formula' will not help solve the problem as the series of attacks in India are part of global terrorism. 'It (attacks) is not related to Jammu and Kashmir issue. It is part of global terrorism,' Mukherjee said in the House amid repeated thumping of desks, significantly on both ruling and opposition sides. 'I don't believe in straight jacket formula. It is not as simple. It is complex...It is not that if Kashmir issue is solved, everything will be in place,' the external affairs minister said. Referring to the 'solemn assurances' given by the then President Pervez Musharraf and his successor President Asif Ali Zardari to end terrorism emanating from Pakistan, he said 'expression of intent is not sufficient' and that Islamabad needs to 'act' to convincing levels. He pointed to the 'house arrest' of LeT chief and said it was 'not convincing' as even after the reported action by Pakistani authorities, Saeed was appearing on TV channels. 'What does house arrest mean? Laws, Indian Penal Code, in Pakistan are the same as in India, the names may be different. He should be either in judicial or police custody,' Mukherjee said. Suggesting that Pakistan could be indulging in non-serious actions against terrorism, he said the 'same scenes were played out after the attack on Parliament in December 2001... The Lashkar-e-Taiba was banned but it changed name, the signboards were changed but the faces, ideology and activities remained the same.' Demanding complete dismantling of terror infrastructure existing in territories under Pakistan's control and end to infiltration, he told Islamabad 'Please follow up seriously... it (action) should be taken to its logical conclusion.' 'It is not India-Pakistan issue, not a Jammu and Kashmir issue... Terrorism is not confined to borders of any country. It is international phenomenon,' Mukherjee said, describing terrorism as the biggest threat to the world post-Cold War. Noting that terrorists have struck in important tourist place Jaipur, science and technology hub Bangalore, industrial hub Ahmedabad and financial capital Mumbai during the year, the external affairs minister said there is a 'design' and 'method' behind these attacks. 'We tell Pakistan, please do not deny facts. Accept it,' he said, as he observed that there was a 'sense of anger and outrage' in India over the Mumbai attacks and people want the government to 'rise to the occasion' and send a 'resolute message' to Pakistan.During the debate which saw unusual unity between ruling and opposition benches, Mukherjee asserted that India will not allow its 'territorial sovereignty and integrity to be played with' and 'nobody should dare to attack us. This message must be conveyed.' Apparently hinting at the disconnect between the political leadership and military establishment in Pakistan that allows terrorists to operate from that country, he said Islamabad needs to address its internal problems and that New Delhi was ready to help in this regard. Seeking to highlight this aspect, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was promised that Director General of ISI would visit India to help in probe into Mumbai attacks. 'But within hours, it was denied. It may be Pakistan's internal problem. They have to solve it. International community should help.' Underlining that India was in the process of building an international campaign to highlight the fact that terrorism against this country is emanating from Pakistan, Mukherjee said majority of the world leaders he spoke to agreed that Mumbai terror attackers came from Pakistan. He, however, said India has to deal with Pakistan patiently as it is a neighbour which cannot be changed. 'I am not indulging in jingoism. I am simply expressing my anger. We have to deal with the situation. We cannot change our neighbours. The issues cannot be ducked. The issues cannot be sidelined,' Mukherjee said. 'Whatever be the depth of our anger, it is a phenomenon which cannot be switched on or off. We have to patiently deal with it. 'Those who talk of thousand years of war after failing to win in an open battle field did it with an objective to cause great harm to this country. We are not provoked. We have no intention to be provoked,' he said. The minister said India has already expressed anger and outrage to Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks in which foreigners were targeted for the first time. He said that 26 foreigners from 13 countries were killed in the attacks and said he had conveyed to their countries regret for not being able to protect the 'guests'. The attack was planned and the terrorists came from Pakistan, he said adding, even during the operation their controllers in Pakistan were guiding them as action was shown live on television. Mukherjee criticised news channels for live coverage of the three-day long operation to 'enhance' viewership at the cost of national interest and said there was need to 'draw a line'.