* Indian foreign minister says Islamabad must take credible action against terrorists
* Says New Delhi will like to cooperate with Pakistan against terrorism
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: India has extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan through its new foreign minister SM Krishna.
But the foreign minister said that dialogue between the two nuclear neighbours might, however, not be forthcoming unless Islamabad dismantled terrorist camps inside its territory and took a more determined action against terrorist organisations.
In an interview to a weekly magazine, Krishna said the offer came from the new government, which was waiting for Islamabad’s reaction.
“We would like friendship with Pakistan, we would like to live peacefully, we want [a] stable Pakistan and we expect them to reciprocate these sentiments,” he said.
When told that India’s earlier offer of cooperation and joint anti-terror mechanism with Pakistan had not worked, he said: “After 26/11 we expected Pakistan to act in a determined fashion but they took a long time to acknowledge that the plot was hatched in the Pakistani territory, but they had to concede that they were Pakistani nationals.”
He said Pakistan had disappointed India on that score.
Krishna said Islamabad would have to take credible action. “I am sure the Pakistani government understands what that credible action is,” he said.
“All that we want is that Pakistan should take an unequivocal stand against terrorism that they will not allow any terrorist organisation to train in Pakistan [and] whatever evidence we have given them about training camps and infrastructure has to be dismantled. These are some of the prerequisites before the dialogue can begin,” Krishna said.
On a question regarding the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Krishna said: “That’s why we want a stable Pakistan. In a country where there is element of instability, naturally these concerns come to the fore since Pakistan is a nuclear power.”
Asked if he had timeframe on what he wanted to achieve in the next 100 days on the foreign policy front, he said: “Foreign policy cannot have a timeframe like you have for the economic ministries. Depending on the exigencies of the government, continuity will guide our approach.”
He said India strongly condemned terrorism wherever it happened.
“Pakistan is becoming vulnerable to terrorist attacks of this kind, and we would like to cooperate with Pakistan in whatever manner we can. It is the cooperation of a general nature, the overall interest for both of us is to fight terror.”
“It is for Pakistan to recognise that violence or the threat to use violence cannot coexist with a meaningful dialogue process. In the end, no amount of external pressure or inducement can substitute for that determination which Pakistan, its government and people must make,” he said.
The Indian foreign minister also rejected Nepal’s maoist leader and former premier Prachanda’s accusations that India was interfering in Nepal’s internal matters.
“India has always believed in non-interference in any other country, we believe we have to have mutual respect and trust and that’s my message to our neighbours, trust us and let’s do business with each other.”
Krishna also disclosed that the special representatives of India and China would resume discussion for a consensus on an “agreed framework” for boundary settlement, “now that our government has taken office”.