India asks Pakistan to fight all terrorists with 'same force'
Differing with the US assessment about Islamabad's change in approach towards terrorism, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday asked Pakistan to "show the same force" in fighting anti-India terrorists like Lashkar-e-Taiba as it has done in combating the Taliban and other anti-West militants.
Differing with the US assessment about Islamabad's change in approach towards terrorism, India Thursday asked Pakistan to "show the same force" in fighting anti-India terrorists like Lashkar-e-Taiba as it has done in combating the Taliban and other anti-West militants.
Dismissive of reports in the Pakistani media about a dossier presented to India about its alleged role in fomenting trouble in Balochistan and in the Lahore attack, Krishna said New Delhi does not react to speculation.
Krishna met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the ASEAN Regional Meeting, but they just exchanged greetings, and left the bilateral talks for their interaction on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September.
"Pakistan has taken certain steps like fighting the Taliban in the Swat valley," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told journalists when asked if Islamabad was showing the same commitment in fighting terrorists who target India like Lashkar-e-Taiba as it was doing in tackling anti-West militants.
"We expect Pakistan should go after the terrorists, who are targeting India, with the same force," he said.
"That's the US' perception," Krishna replied when asked to comment on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's appreciation of Pakistan's "evolving commitment" to combating terrorism in the last six months.
During her five-day visit to India that ended Tuesday, Clinton repeatedly stressed that Islamabad was showing real commitment to fighting terrorism - remarks that were greeted with scepticism in India.
Krishna was interacting with journalists while returning from the Thai island resort of Phuket, where he participated in the India-ASEAN ministerial meeting and ASEAN Regional Forum meeting.
Asked about Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD) chief Hafeez Saeed, suspected to be a mastermind of the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks, Krishna said Pakistani authorities had made an appeal in court against his recent release. "The law should take its course," he said.
"Pakistan should take action against any head of a terrorist organisation working against India," he added.
"The government of India does not react to media reports and speculation. If there is anything to it, let them take it officially," Krishna said.
He was responding to a question on a report in the Pakistani daily Dawn. The report quoted Pakistani official sources suggesting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to the mention of Balochistan in the joint statement after his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani confronted him in Sharm-el-Sheikh with a dossier detailing India's covert activities in the resource-rich volatile province of Balochistan.
The report said India was responsible for the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team and the Manawan police academy.
Top government sources rubbished the report, saying it does not bode well for India-Pakistan relations, which the leaders of the two countries are trying to put back on track after the suspension of the composite dialogue in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.
Reacting to media reports suggesting that Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency have launched concerted efforts to be involved in talks with India, Krishna said it was for the Pakistan government to decide.
Krishna, however, underlined the need for greater intelligence sharing between the two countries to prevent future terror attacks.
"The intelligence apparatus of the government of India has its own methodology. We should share intelligence whenever it's in the greater interest of the nation," he said when asked whether there has been any intelligence-sharing between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.
"Terror has to be fought on every front," Krishna said.
Krishna stressed the need for a collective regional approach to combating terrorism and drew attention to India's "terror-infested neighbourhood" at the 16th annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held at Thai island resort Phuket that was attended by foreign ministers of 27 countries.