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Don`t confuse restraint with weakness: India to Pak

Addressing the Widrow Wilson Centre, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao virtually ruled out resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan.



Washington: India said on Monday that it has made several genuine efforts to restore trust and confidence with Pakistan even as it cautioned Islamabad that its approach to deal with terrorism should not be taken for its weakness.

Addressing the Widrow Wilson Centre, a Washington-based think-tank, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao virtually ruled out resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan till the time Pakistan guarantees that terrorism can be controlled by its authorities.
"Today, Pakistan claims that it is in no position to give us such a guarantee that terrorism can be controlled by its authorities. In such a situation, the people of India who are already bitterly affected by series of terrorist attacks can hardly be expected to support resumption of a full-blown Composite Dialogue with Pakistan," Rao said.

Rao noted that there should be strict accountability criteria that apply to defence assistance rendered to Pakistan for operations against terrorists and insurgents on the border with Afghanistan.

"Our past experience regarding such assistance has taught us to be vigilant to the possibility of it being used for purposes that generate tension and hostile actions against India," the Foreign Secretary said.

"We do not have aggressive designs against Pakistan and we want it to be a stable and prosperous country. But we will be vigilant about our security. That is our sovereign right," she added.
Rao said India has time and again, made genuine attempts to address outstanding issues, most importantly, the issue of terrorism through dialogue with Pakistan.

"My meeting with my Pakistan counterpart represented the latest such move," she said, adding despite the provocations India has faced constantly from terrorists whose linkages it has traced back to Pakistani soil, New Delhi has not abandoned the path of dialogue.

"In our recent meeting, India`s approach was to focus on our concerns regarding terrorism, pending humanitarian issues, and some bilateral visits that have been planned or spoken of, but have not taken place," she said.

Rao said aggressive pronouncements by persons "identified by the world as terrorists" continue to be made openly against India and distinctions made between various terrorist outfits are now meaningless, since they are now in effect fused both operationally and ideologically.

"We have consistently emphasized need for governments concerned to act decisively to dismantle infrastructure of terrorism and effectively deal with groups that perpetrate it.

However, our restraint should not be confused with weakness or unwillingness to act against those that seek to harm our people, create insecurity, and hamper our developmental goals," Rao added.

PTI

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