Pak attitude towards terror has altered: Rao

Last Updated: Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 15:28

New Delhi: Pakistan`s attitude towards tackling terrorism has "altered", a "concrete" development that India should take note of, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
has said.

"I think the prism through which they see this issue has definitely been altered," Rao told a TV news channel.

She was replying to a question on whether India saw a change in Pakistan`s attitude towards terrorism during the recently concluded Foreign Secretary-level talks.

Asked whether it was a positive development, Rao said it was an outcome that India must take note of.

"I think when they speak of the fact that non-state elements in this relationship need to be tackled, that we must look at safe havens and sanctuaries, that we must look at fake currency, we must look at all the aspects that are concerned
with the business of terror, I think that is a concrete development," she said.

Rao, however, said she would not expect Pakistani officials to talk about the strategic link between the Pakistani state and militancy and terror.

Asked whether her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir accepted the revelations made by Mumbai attacks case accused David Headley in a Chicago trial court, Rao said the strategic link between the Pakistani state and militancy and terror
needed to be broken.

"Well, he is not going to say that in so many words to me. I think it would be unrealistic for me to expect that the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan is going to say that," she said when asked whether Bashir admitted to the strategic link
between the Pakistani state and terror outfits.

Rao said she did discuss Headley`s revelations about ISI involvement in Mumbai attacks and told Bashir that India wanted satisfactory answers on these linkages.

"But let me say that the fact that we are discussing the threat, the scourge, the evil of terrorism and the fact that it has ramifications that extend into the entire region, I think is a development we must take note of," she said.

The Foreign Secretary rejected suggestions that she was generous towards Pakistan. "That is not my interpretation and I do not believe that is the way diplomatic negotiations are transacted. I think we have to be realistic. We have to
understand the difficulties in the terrain," she said.

Rao said her talks with Bashir did not focus just on the 26/11 trail. "...We also discussed peace and security, we discussed the issue of Kashmir which has always formed a part of the dialogue, let me say that."

She indicated that the 26/11 trial was being discussed at the Home Secretary-level. "They have had a good round of talks. There are outcomes from those talks. There is follow-up actually in process at the moment," Rao said.

She said India has "adequately communicated" to Pakistan that it expects to see progress in the 26/11 trial and "we need concrete results".

"I have said it and I say it again we do need closure on all these issues. These are issues of paramount concern to India and very legitimately so. And I think Pakistan is fully aware of this.

"The rounds of talks that we have had in recent months, and I refer especially to the Home Secretary-level talks, have served the purpose of communicating and articulating these concerns very graphically to the Pakistanis," Rao said.

Noting that India has had sustained dialogue with Pakistan on the 26/11 issue, the Foreign Secretary said concrete results seem to be very far off.

"We have not seen anything actually happening on the Mumbai trial and that is the point of great concern to us. But let me ask you a question. Does it mean that dialogue is not an option that we should pursue with Pakistan?" she said.

Rao said policy-making needs to be looked at in a dynamic situation.

"I do not think you are making policy in a laboratory. You take into account the surrounding environment. You take into account the success of a certain approach or not.

"Did that approach (of not talking) yield too many dividends? Well, you have to make your assessment of that. I think the decision to re-engage with Pakistan and to talk about the issues that divide us, that create a gulf between us, to reduce the trust deficit, as the two prime ministers said, I think is a very realistic approach to dealing with problems with Pakistan," Rao said.

She agreed with former Home Secretary GK Pillai`s assessment that the 26/11 trial has not moved an inch.

"Well, it depends on how you look at it. From one angle certainly it has not moved an inch. I am not denying that. There has been a very glacial pace to this whole process as far as the 26/11 trials are concerned.

"But let me tell you what kind of feedback we got from the Pakistanis at this round. And they spoke of the need to discuss all the serious and substantive issues between the two countries and that terrorism was at the forefront of this,"
Rao said.

’NSG decision not end of the road’
India has said that the recent decision of the Nuclear Suppliers` Group on transfer of sensitive technology was "not the end of the road" and the new rules, which are not in the public domain yet, need to be studied before drawing any conclusion.

"First of all let me say that these guidelines have not been published in open text as yet. We need to study that more fully and we need to draw our conclusions from that," Nirupama Rao told the TV channel.

On former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar`s remarks that the new guidelines amounted to "betrayal", she said she would not use similar terminology.

"As a professional engaged in this process, I think the latest NSG decision is not the end of the road. It is not set in stone," Rao said.

The NSG last week decided to push for more stringent norms that govern technology transfer for enrichment and reprocessing technology. This decision has raised concerns about its impact on the landmark civil nuclear deal India
signed with the US.

The Foreign Secretary indicated that India could leverage its burgeoning nuclear power sector.

"The whole issue of full bilateral civil nuclear cooperation, the fact that India has the potential to develop 60,000 MW of electricity from nuclear energy by 2030. So, this is a dynamic process. We have an expanding nuclear industry.

This is a great attraction to the rest of the world," she said.

Rao said she has confirmation from the US, France and Russia that they stood by the committments they made to India at the time of entering into civil nuclear cooperation agreements and that there was "no dilution of these
committments".

"I think pledges deserve to be honoured and everything we are hearing from the French, from the Americans, from the Russians would suggest that their commitment to full bilateral civil nuclear cooperation and keeping in mind, and let me say this, the clean exemption that was given to us in September 2008, will be taken forward," she said.

Asked whether India failed to prevent the new NSG guidelines from being adopted, Rao said it was not a question of failure.

"You have look at this as a dynamic process. Let me say one thing very clearly, and I will repeat myself on this, that the international nuclear order will change in India`s favour. And I am sure of that," she said.

"I am very confident and very clear about the strengths that we have. I think people seem to think that this is the end of the road. It is not the end of the road.

"I think we have a tendency to proclaim defeat at every such turn. I think that is not the way. In situations such as this which are dynamic situations, nothing is set in stone. Interests prevail, reciprocities prevail, commitments prevail," Rao said.
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PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 15:28

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