India on Monday rejected Pakistan's allegations of funding the Taliban to foment unrest in that country as “baseless” and asked it to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism targeted at New Delhi.
"This is completely groundless and baseless,” official sources in the external affairs ministry said on Monday when asked about Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's allegation that India was funding the Taliban to destabilise his country.
"India is a victim of terrorism. India's stand on Taliban is well-known and we want Pakistan to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism targeted at India,” the sources said.
In an interview to a television channel, Malik said he was "convinced" India was among "certain hostile agencies" that are backing the Taliban to create instability in Pakistan.
"There are certain hostile elements against Pakistan and there are certain hostile agencies which do not want Pakistan to be (stabilised),” he replied when asked who was backing the Taliban in Pakistan.
"Yes, of course, I am convinced. I have no doubt about it. I was very open. I have given the full details,” he replied when asked whether India was among the hostile agencies he was referring to.
"If the interior minister of India or anyone else wants to confront me, I will be very happy to confront them because I know what I am saying,” he added.
India has reiterated many a time that the Taliban are terrorists posing a threat to the entire region.
Malik's comments come at a time when there is growing exasperation in New Delhi about Pakistan's "very, very slow" progress in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage to justice.
"We are concerned at the slow and tardy action against conspirators and those responsible for the Mumbai attacks," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said in New Delhi last week. "We have also drawn attention to the very, very slow pace of action and the trial against the accused," Rao said.
India had suspended the composite dialogue with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks in November last year that killed over 160 people. New Delhi has made has made it clear that any resumption of the stalled talks will depend on Islamabad's action against the 26/11 attackers and the larger anti-India infrastructure on Pakistani territory.