Mounting more pressure on Islamabad to curb terror groups operating from its soil, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Friday that over 30 terrorist outfits were still operating in Pakistan.
Expressing dismay over Pakistan’s non-committal stance in cracking down on terror after the Mumbai attacks, he said there was no noticeable change in the neighbour’s attitude and India was fully prepared to meet any eventuality.
<b1>In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi rejected India’s demand to extradite terror masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
“Statements are not important, actions are. They have to prove by their action,” Antony said on the sidelines of a function to mark the centenary of the defence journal Sainik Samachar.
“When more than 30 terrorist outfits are still operating in Pakistan, how can we say there is a real improvement or change in attitude?”
Asked to comment on Pakistan’s suggestion that India should de-activate forward air bases and withdraw troops to peacetime locations, Antony said nobody could tell India what to do post 26/11 and the armed forces were fully prepared to face any challenge. “The armed forces are doing their duty,” he said. “We are not escalating tensions. Whatever exercises are taking place, are of a routine nature.”
He said the military would not lower its guard. Asked if India had given any deadline to Pakistan to act against terror outfits, he said, “There is no time limit. The only thing is they must act.” In a related development, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that the world community should take appropriate action if Pakistan fails to comply with its international commitments and conventions.
“When Lashkar-e-Tayyeba was banned, it came up as JuD,” Mukherjee was quoted as telling reporters. “Now it has been banned. It (JuD) might have taken another name.... This is the pattern we have noticed in Pakistan. It is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to stop activities of these banned organisations in any form, in any name.”