India on Saturday sent a warning to Pakistan that it should not presume the likelihood of military retaliation was fading with time.
“If a country cannot keep the assurances that it has given, then it obliges us to consider the entire range of options that exist to protect our interests and our people from this menace (of terrorism),” said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in a clear reference to Pakistan’s promise to ensure there would be no terrorist attacks against India from its soil.
<b1>The minister’s statement, read out by Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor Mahendra Lama at the inauguration of a conference in Gangtok, seems to be part of an overall drive by New Delhi to infuse credibility to India’s warnings to Pakistan after the Mumbai attack.
Mukherjee’s statement says, “The recent attacks in Mumbai only reflect the extent to which terrorists have spread their network. The repeated appeals that we have made to our neighbours, over the years, to ensure that they do not provide any support to terrorist activities and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, has been ignored, despite assurances given by them.”
Without mentioning Pakistan or its military’s Inter-Services Intelligence directly, the minister added that Mumbai was “the latest instance of how subregionalism, regionalism and multilateralism are directly threatened by non-state actors with the aid of para-state apparatus.”
India’s recent decision to deploy additional MiG fighters around the capital and establish no-fly zones around nuclear reactor sites is being seen by some as a silent warning to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington the steps taken so far by Islamabad post-Mumbai were “not nearly enough” and advised Pakistan to keep working to “really deal” with terrorism to help ease the present crisis. The message to the Pakistani government, she said, had to be “you need to deal with the terrorist problem. And it’s not enough to say these are non-state actors. If they’re operating from Pakistani territory, then they have to be dealt with.”
However, Richard Barrett, coordinator of the United Nations Security Council’s al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, expressed satisfaction with the cooperation he was receiving from Islamabad in implementing UN sanctions against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.