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'India obliged to consider entire range of options'

india Updated: Dec 19, 2008 21:39 IST

India on Friday said it was obliged to "consider the entire range of options that exist" with the failure of Pakistan to deliver on its promise of not supporting terror activities.

"Terrorism remains a scourge for our region. 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 people from this menace," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, without naming Islamabad.

"We have made repeated appeals to our neighbours over the years to ensure that they do not not provide support to terrorist activities and to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure...But our pleas have been ignored in spite of assurances given by them," Mukherjee said.

He said this in his message from New Delhi to the International Conference on 'Sub-regionalism Approach to Regional Integration in South Asia: Prospects and Opportunities' in Gangtok.

It was read out by the Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mahendra P Lama at the inauguration of the three-day conference.

Mukherjee said the terror attacks on the financial capital of the country reflected the extent to which the terrorists have spread their network in the neighbouring country.

The External Affairs minister, however, did not elaborate on the course of action to be taken by the government following Pakistan's failure to act on its assurance of dismantling terror infrastructure on its territory.

He also hinted that the state agencies of Pakistan may have provided assistance to the terrorists, whom he described as non-state actors, in carrying out the attack.

"The Mumbai terrorist attack is the latest instance of how sub-regionalism, regionalism and multilaterism are directly threatened by non-state actors with the aid of para-state apparatus," Mukherjee said.

He said that India would fine-tune its priorities to deal with terrorism.

Referring to India's assessment of political situation in Pakistan, Mukherjee noted that the internal security of that country continued to deteriorate "leading to emergence of multiple centres of power".

The emergence of multiple centres of power has been reflected in attempts at cross border infiltration as also the increase in ceasefire violations besides the appalling terrorist attacks in Mumbai recently, he said.

The issue of terrorism within Pakistan being deeply embroiled in its internal politics has been found true, the minister said.

"The infrastructure of terror remained unchallenged in Pakistan and so did the logistical support to anti-Indian terrorists from multiple hands due to emergence of multiple centres of power," Mukherjee said.

On India's vision for a developed and prosperous South Asia, Mukherjee said, New Delhi sought to promote an environment of peace and stability in the SAARC region and the world for accelerated socio-economic development and national security.

"At the same time, one cannot choose one's neighbour," he said in an apparent dig at Pakistan.

"The goal of the SAARC countries should be to create a peaceful periphery to enable all of us to pursue our own development," the union minister said and questioned the commitment of some neighbouring countries to pursue a common goal of peace and development in the South Asian region.

"The internal development in our neighbour countries, crossborder issues, ethnicities and migration among others make the bilateral relations a complex and sensitive issue as the domestic and foreign policy gets closely intertwined," he said.