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Indian Govt admits to Chinese intrusion

india Updated: Jan 12, 2008 11:57 IST

PTI
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Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China, India has said that the Chinese army "sometimes" does intrude on its territory but the issues are addressed through established mechanisms.

It also hinted its backing to Sri Lankan army's action against Tamil Tigers saying any country is free to take action against terrorists within its legal system.

"Sometimes the incursions take place. Every incursion is taken care of. It's being addressed through the established mechanism," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Karan Thapar on 'Devil's Advocate' programme of CNN-IBN.

He said there was nothing to worry about the incursions as the mechanisms established by India and China to deal with such issues "are doing well".

Mukherjee, however, admitted that the infrastructure development on the Chinese side of the border is "much superior to that on our side."

"... Their infrastructure in terms of road, electricity and availability of other facilities is much superior to that on our side. It is a known fact. That is why we have decided that we should also build up the roads and other types of infrastructural facilities," he said.

On reported concerns expressed by senior Army officers on facilities on the Chinese side, Mukherjee said "there is no question of letting down our vigilance and alertness."

On the developments in Pakistan, the minister said he had "tremendous faith" in the resilience of the Pakistani people to manage their crisis.

Asked whether he believed President Pervez Musharraf faced the danger of being removed by the army, Mukherjee said there was an element of unpredictability.

"Only future can show what course of action will be taken by the establishment or the people of Pakistan. It is not predictable ... An element of unpredictability is there but I can't say the situation will turn around in a positive manner," he said.

The minister sidestepped a query on whether he saw Musharraf as part of the solution or the problem. "We ought to deal with whoever is in office in Pakistan. Therefore we do not make any value judgement of any individual," he said.

Dubbing the Tamil Tigers as "terrorists", Mukherjee hinted at support to the Lankan army's action against them.

"Of late the clashes between Sri Lankan forces and LTTE terrorists have increased. So far as terrorism is concerned, our position is that of zero tolerance. So any country that takes action against terrorists are free to do so within their legal system," he said.

On Sri Lanka's decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE, Mukherjee said "we shall have to see what impact it has."

However, he said India wanted the Lankan government to pursue efforts to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of ethnic Tamil minorities within that country's political framework.

Mukherjee said no decision has been taken on the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Colombo to participate in the island nation's 60th Independence Day celebrations but made it clear that he will participate in the SAARC summit scheduled to be held there later this year.

Mukherjee said he would not link the possibility of increased infiltration of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir to the internal turmoil in Pakistan.

"... Let us not link it (infiltration) with the turmoil in the country because terrorist activity from the other side of the border has never completely stopped," he said.

Sometimes the number of infiltrations increases, sometimes it decreases. "Therefore our advice to security forces has always been be on alert and maintain your vigil," Mukherjee said.

He said India decided against sending a delegation to attend the burial of slain leader Benazir Bhutto because it did not want to "embarrass" Pakistani authorities.

Mukherjee said the Indian mission in Islamabad was in touch with other missions from various countries who were keen to send delegations for Bhutto's funeral.

"We were all advised not to come ... In this hour of difficulty we did not want to embarrass the (Pakistani) authorities and we listened to their advice," he said.

Mukherjee dismissed suggestions that the Congress was worried about the rise of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who recently pulled off a spectacular electoral win in the assembly elections.

"There is nothing to be worried by the rise of any individual or even by the success of a political party because I have seen that political parties come and go," he said.

Mukherjee refused to comment on politics of Modi saying "when the people of Gujarat have expressed confidence in him as Chief Minister we have to accept it. It is as simple as that."