Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 19
Apportioning blame on Pakistan for being the ‘fountainhead’ of terrorism and using it as ‘instrument of state policy’, the Ministry of Defence, in its annual report, has cautioned India’s western neighbour of ‘ramifications on bilateral relations’.
In its recent report, the ministry also expresses concern over China’s growing military might and its assertiveness in the disputed hydrocarbon rich South China Sea.
The 240-page document says: “Pakistan continues to remain the fountainhead of terrorism in the region.” The report adds that Pakistan’s quest for strategic depth in Afghanistan continues to drive its policy of support the Taliban.
“The expanding footprints of extremist and terrorist organisations in Pakistan and their linkages with terrorist activities in J&K and the rest of India pose a major security challenge to India, with severe ramifications on bilateral relations as well as to peace and security of the region,” the report said.
“Terrorism as an instrument of state policy has deep roots in Pakistani military establishment,” the report says, noting that “ceasefire violations and infiltrations from the Pakistani territory are major obstacles and source of concern” to a dialogue between the two countries.
“A meaningful dialogue requires an environment free from terror and violence,” the report said, adding that India was committed to resolve all issues with Pakistan under the Simla agreement (1972) and the Lahore declaration (1999).
The existence of terrorist camps across the international border and Line of Control (LoC), instances of ceasefire violations, attempted infiltrations and transgressions demonstrate the challenges faced by India, the document says.
“Pakistan has continued with its policy of selective approach to tackling terrorist groups operating from its territory… which do not serve the interests of regional peace and security.”
On China, the report asserts that India’s stake in maintaining peace in the Asia Pacific Region. Without naming the South China Sea, the report says “countries must exercise restraint”.
Beijing is the dominant player in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea and threatens to control a greater part of it. Beijing’s overlapping claims with Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam has tensed up matters. India has interests in oil bocks off the coast of Vietnam and maintaining freedom of navigation.
The US Energy Administration estimates that 11 billion barrels (bbl) of oil reserves and 190 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas reserves are available in the South China Sea.
“India has important political economic, commercial and social interests in the Asia-Pacific and has stake in the continued pace and stability in the region,” the report says.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, in their meeting in New Delhi in January, had unveiled a ‘Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region’, which talked about the “importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea”.
Earlier this month, Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, who heads the Pacific Fleet of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), on a visit to India said China’s activities in the South China Seas were a ‘cause of concern’.
The report also expresses concern over Beijing’s growing military profile.
“India remains conscious and watchful of the implications of China’s increasingly military profile in our immediate and extended neighbourhood as well as the development of strategic infrastructure by China in the border areas.”
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