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Pressurise Pakistan to stabilise Afghanistan: India

"The international community should put pressure on Pakistan to implement its stated commitment to deal with terrorist groups within its territory," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said at a seminar.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2009 23:01 IST

Barely days before Afghan polls results become clear, India on Wednesday asked the international community to put "effective pressure" on Pakistan to crack down on terrorists on its territory and asked it to maintain a long-term commitment to Afghanistan's reconstruction.

Reiterating its unwavering commitment to a democratic, pluralistic and prosperous Afghanistan, India also signalled support for the Afghan government's determination to integrate "those willing to abjure violence and live and work within the parameters of the Afghan constitution".

New Delhi, however, did not clarify whether it involved support for a power-sharing arrangement that includes an accommodation with the moderate Taliban, saying it does not believe in "compartmentalisation of terrorism."

"The international community should put effective pressure on Pakistan to implement its stated commitment to deal with terrorist groups within its territory, including the members of Al-Qaeda, Taliban's Quetta Shura, Hizb-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other like-minded terrorist groups," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said at an international seminar on Afghanistan in New Delhi.

Rao warned that the failure to pressure Pakistan on terrorism could worsen the situation in Afghanistan. "Without this, the gains made over the past eight years will be compromised and it will become difficult to forestall the restoration of status quo ante, to a situation similar to what prevailed prior to Sep 11, 2001," she said.

Rao's warning on Pakistan comes amid reports that Pakistan was planning to push as many as 60 surrendered Taliban into Jammu and Kashmir to become part of the 'jihad' against India.

In an oblique reference to Pakistan, Rao also warned about the perils of striking deals with terrorists. "The world has come to realise, at considerable cost, that terrorism can't be compartmentalised, and any facile attempts to strike Faustian bargains with terrorists often result in such forces turning on the powers that sustained them in the past," she said.

"There is a growing understanding that the increase in terrorist actions in Afghanistan is linked to the support and sanctuaries available in the contiguous areas," Rao said, while linking it to high-level of violence in the border areas of Afghanistan.

Rao said India supported the Afghan government's initiative to integrate those willing to abjure violence and live and work within the parameters of the Afghan constitution, but cautioned that this should "go hand-in-hand with the shutting down of support and sanctuaries provided to terrorist groups across the border".

Amid signs of vacillation by the international community, Rao called for a long-term policy to "invest and endure" in Afghanistan and warned that a failure to do so would run "the risk of encouraging insurgent groups, besides weakening the authority of the central government and its institutions".

"What we believe Afghanistan needs is a long-term commitment, even while remaining mindful of the challenges," she said.

"Failure in Afghanistan's stabilisation will entail a heavy cost for both the Afghan people and the world at large," she said while emphasising the need for greater international assistance in supporting efforts of the Afghan government to improve security, governance and development.

Alluding to two choices confronting the international community to invest and endure or improve in order to exit, Rao said India will resolutely continue its policy of supporting Afghanistan through its multifarious reconstruction activities in that country.

"India has already made up its mind - invest and endure because we believe in the cause of peace, democracy and development in Afghanistan. We know that the friends of Afghanistan will do likewise," Rao said.

Calling the Aug 20 presidential and provincial councils elections as "a landmark event in Afghanistan's evolution as a democracy", Rao stressed that the post-election period provides a fresh opportunity for a renewed commitment by the international community towards rebuilding Afghanistan.

About India's developmental assistance of $1.2 billion for Afghanistan, Rao said it straddled all the socio-economic sectors of development: humanitarian; infrastructure; small and quick-gestation social projects; and skills and capacity development.

India is the sixth largest donor in Afghanistan.