Washington: Asserting that the menace of Taliban cannot be eradicated unless safe havens in Pakistan are eliminated, BJP President Rajnath Singh on Tuesday asked Islamabad to "act responsibly" to ensure a smooth transition in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan must act responsibly to ensure a smooth transition in Afghanistan. We expect the new Pakistan leadership to show courage and determination to rein in radical elements within the ISI and the Pakistan Army from interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan after the NATO forces withdraw," Singh said at a conference on Afghanistan at the Capitol Hill.
Pakistan, he argued, must realise that the radical Taliban has caused enormous damage to not only the NATO forces and the democratic leadership in Afghanistan, but also to the Baloch and other Pakistanis.
"The plight of the Baloch people at the hands of these extremist and terrorist elements calls for serious attention by the international community," he said.
Observing that there is no distinction between the al Qaeda and the Taliban on the premise that one primarily targets the West and the other does not, the BJP President said for India the menace of religious extremism and terrorism is seamless as the roots of the ideology of intolerance are the same and can be directed against any perceived enemy as the situation demands.
Singh pledged to build a replica of the Bamiyan Buddha, which was destroyed by the Taliban, at Kushi Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.
He was speaking at a conference on Afghanistan at the Capitol Hill jointly organised by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies, US India Political Action Committee and American Foreign Policy Council.
In his remarks, Singh accused Pakistan of illegally occupying the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, whose people are subjected to massive oppression and human rights violations today, are a gateway for India to Central Asia with which we have a millennia-old relations," Singh said.
"India should get rightful access to Central Asia through the Gilgit-Baltistan region, with connectivity being established between Kargil in India and Skardu in Gilgit," he said.