India will continue to remain engaged with Pakistan

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New Delhi, Dec 28 (UNI) India will continue to remain engaged with Pakistan and will encourage the ''right forces'' to help democracy in that country.

A day after the assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, official sources said it was in India's interest to have a stable and peaceful periphery and ensure that support to democracy in that country was crucial. A periphery in turmoil was the last thing that India would desire, the sources said.

About the fate of the ongoing peace process with Pakistan, they said ''the peace process is with Pakistan and not with any person...we have no option but to keep encouraging the right forces.'' The sources, however, said Pakistan was facing a problem and it was upto them to find a solution. Democracy, in that context, was essential.

Asked whether the country would go ahead with the elections, due early next year, the sources refused to make any guesses saying the Ms Bhutto's Party--Pakistan People's Party--wanted the electiosn to be held but there was no word from either President Pervez Musharraf or the Pakistan Army.

To a question on who could be involved inthe assassination of Ms Bhutto, irrespective of the claims made by Al Qaida, the sources said what mattered is what the Pakistanis believed.

''We will never really know who killed her...,'' they said.

About whether the situation concerned India, considering the apprehenmsions of militants spillover from across the border, the sources said India's worry was that these groups (terrorists) are much more freer and have links.

The sources said the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had met and discussed the situation in Pakistan and each member put forward his own assessment of the situation. There was a general discussion on the threat assessment, the sources added.

The CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to assess the security implications for India of the escalating terrorist violence in Pakistan.

Besides its members, the CCS was attended by chiefs of intelligence agencies and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan who briefed the leaders on the likely impact of terrorism in Pakistan on India.

The gist of the hour-long deliberations at the CCS was conveyed to leaders of various parties who attended an all-party meet convened by Dr Singh minutes later.

There was a feeling that the sleeper units of terror outfits in India could become active, emboldened by the success of their mentors across the border.

''The situation is very fluid and India should be fully geared to meet any eventuality,'' some members of the CCS said.

The all-party meeting strongly condemned the assassination of Ms Bhutto and expressed its resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism in the region.

The Railway Ministry today suspended the operation of the Samjhauta Express and Thar Express--the two trains connecting India and Pakistan --on account of security considerations following the political turmoil in Pakistan.

The ministry said in a statement the two trains had been suspended with immediate effect on account of ''security considerations'' UNI

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