M A I N   N E W S

Pak hasn’t done enough to end terror, says PM
SAARC against double standards on tackling terrorism
Ajay Kaul

Dhaka, November 13
Agreeing with his Pakistan counterpart Shaukat Aziz that there was “trust deficit” between the two countries, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said “all that needs to be done” on stopping crossborder terrorism has not been done by Islamabad.

“There has been trust deficit. It is our obligation to convert that deficit into a surplus,” he told a press conference before winding up his three-day visit here for the 13th SAARC Summit.

He was asked about Mr Aziz’s comments earlier in the day about “trust deficit” between the two countries.

The Prime Minister parried a question whether there was any evidence of Pakistan’s hand in the serial bomb blasts in Delhi merely saying “indications do suggest external linkages”.

“The inquiry is underway. There are several clues and there are some indications about external linkages to terrorist groups which might have been involved. I will not say more on that till we have a firm grasp of really knowing who was involved,” he said.

To a question, the Prime Minister said in the January, 2004 statement, Pakistan had given an assurance that its territory would not be allowed to be used to promote or further terrorist activities directed against India.

On Iran, he said efforts should be made for a consensus to avoid a vote at the upcoming IAEA meeting. “But if it comes to voting, I cannot predict what we will do. It depends on what are the issues, which is the subject matter of voting or no voting.”

Meanwhile, an eight-page Dhaka Declaration adopted at the end of the two-day 13th SAARC Summit said the leaders resolved to make regional cooperation more responsive to the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of South Asia.

The Declaration was, however, silent on the much-speculated move to admit Afghanistan as a new member and associate China as a MoU partner.

Expressing serious concern over threats posed by terrorism, the SAARC leaders underlined that “there should be no double standards” in combating the scourge.

In view of the continuing and recent terrorist attacks in the region and their impact on security, economic stability and social development, they expressed their determination to unite in their efforts in preventing and combating terrorism, the Declaration said.

The countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in such important areas as exchange of information, coordination and cooperation among their relevant agencies.

It was decided that Home Ministers of the SAARC countries would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the Home Secretaries.

The leaders from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan agreed to declare the decade of 2006-15 as the SAARC Decade of Poverty Alleviation and make endeavours at the national and regional level to rid South Asia of poverty. — PTI

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