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Terror in Pak, PoK still exists: Pranab
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that while there have been “several positive developments” in India’s relationship with Pakistan, “we cannot still say for sure that the peace process is entrenched.”

Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank, yesterday Mr Mukherjee said the infrastructure for terrorism in Pakistan and Pakistan-controlled territory still exists.

“We do not hear of operations like the ones being conducted by Pakistan in cooperation with the USA against the war on terrorism at its western frontiers towards its eastern borders with India,” he said.

Asked whether infiltrations from Pakistan had stopped, Mr Mukherjee said these had reduced. “We have to keep our fingers crossed,” he cautioned, adding that the Himalayan passes are yet to open after the snows melt. “The people to people contact has created an atmosphere where terrorists are isolated,” he said.

Peace with Pakistan would also be beneficial for Afghanistan and Central Asia, the minister said. Noting that Afghanistan needs economic support, markets and assistance, Mr Mukherjee said while India had made modest contributions in Afghanistan it could do a lot more if normal relations and trade and transit through Pakistan could flourish.

New Delhi is concerned about signs of resurgence of the Taliban and the growth in drug cultivation and trafficking in Afghanistan.

Mr Mukherjee also made the case for a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council.

Discussing what he called India’s “global decision-making deficit,” he said the world had changed dramatically since the constitution of the United Nations and its present composition of Security Council members.

“The Cold War structure of global governance stands dismantled, but an enduring replacement that can address the economic and security challenges of our times and the future is not in place.”

Pointing out that a unipolar world is clearly not a sustainable proposition in the long run, Mr Mukherjee said India favoured a “partnership among the nations.” New Delhi’s partnership with Brazil, Japan and Germany for a permanent seat on the Security Council was just one example of this partnership.

Mr Mukherjee said India was a “natural candidate” for a permanent seat on the Security Council “by any criteria — size, population, economy, military power, role in international peacekeeping, responsibility in international affairs, future prospects.”

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