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No one wants war: PM
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

Non-state actors were practising terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments. The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power. — Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, December 23
Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan over the Mumbai terror attack, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said, “nobody wants war”. He firmly warned Islamabad that New Delhi would not accept a situation in which terrorism was used as an instrument to cripple the Indian economy.

With the Pakistani leadership indulging in war-mongering rhetoric, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, meanwhile, charged Islamabad with creating “war hysteria” to deflect attention from fulfilling its commitment to combating terror. With the civilian government in Pakistan looking absolutely vulnerable, there is a feeling in Indian circles that the Pakistani armed forces might try to take advantage of the situation and indulge in some “misadventure” which must be prevented.

The Prime Minister, talking to reporters soon after the Parliament session concluded this evening, said “the issue is not war…nobody wants war. The issue is that the Pakistani territory is (being) used to aid and abet terror.”

New Delhi, he emphasised, would like Pakistan to make an objective effort to dismantle the terror machine, which would be in the interest of both India and Pakistan.

He also asked Pakistan to comply with UN Security Council resolutions, passed over the years to fight terror. He was obviously alluding to the recent UNSC resolution under chapter 7, banning the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. “Pakistan must fulfil its international obligation by not allowing the misuse of its territory for terrorist activities”.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister addressed a meeting of the nearly 150 Indian ambassadors and high commissioners here at which the Mumbai terror strikes and the complicity of elements in Pakistan in the attack figured prominently.

In his address, Singh, referring to the international security environment, said that threats such as terrorism and piracy required a well thought out strategy. India sought peace and stability in its neighbourhood. The situation was, however, worrisome.

“Non-state actors were practising terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments. The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power. India would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India’s economy or the values it stands for,” he declared.

The Prime Minister emphasised that India’s foreign policy should be an extension of the country’s enlightened national interests. India was destined to become a major economic and knowledge power which was at peace with itself. India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared in this direction and reflect the aspirations of its people.

The External Affairs Minister, who had been doing some tough talking in the past few days, appeared quite realistic and reasonable in his approach today. “My request to our friends in Pakistan is that they should address issues…the issue is not creating war hysteria by raising fingers against others.”



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