Pak can do more to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil: Rao

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New Delhi, Jan.17 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said that the Pakistan Government has to and can do more to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure operating from its soil, and prevent the continuous targetting of innocent Indian citizens.

"The whole phenomenon of cross-border terrorism, as it affects us today has not diminished in any manner. All the events you have seen over the last few days basically point to the basic and undeniable fact that the infrastructure of terrorism, which operates out of Pakistan and territory under Pakistan control has not been dismantled and it continues to be directed against the Indian people. It affects ordinary people. Terrorism affects people like you and me, " Rao said in an interview with Karan Thapar, the host of CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate program.

When asked whether the Pakistan Government is extending some sort of support, Rao said: "I think the experience over the last two decades would make it very clear to us that this has been an instrument of state policy which has been pursued by agencies within Pakistan."

Referring to a recent terrorist strike in Srinagar, Kashmir, Rao said militancy and violence in Kashmir is a longstanding phenomenon.

"We have seen it happen over and over again for many many years now. And this has been accompanied by rhetoric, rhetoric directed against India, all forms and means of propaganda that comes across from the Pakistan side. So, rhetoric, militancy and violence, together they make a very combustible combination," she said.

Rhetoric, she added, was always unhelpful in situations such as these.

She also expressed the view that the AFPAK strategy announced by President Barack Obama in December, suggested that Washington the United States has been sensitised to New Delhi's concerns about terrorism that "operates from areas contiguous to our border with Pakistan."

"Terrorism and violence within Pakistan, and you have seen a rise in levels of both terrorism and violence within Pakistan, clearly reverberate beyond Pakistan's borders. We have said over and over again that we would like a secure, a stable, a peaceful Pakistan. Obviously violence and terrorism in Pakistan and manifestations of what you referred to as instability, concern all of us," the foreign secretary said.

The concern over cross-border terrorism notwithstanding, Rao said that the Indian Government continue to deal with the Government of Pakistan.

"Obviously we have a diplomatic relationship with Pakistan. We are in touch with representatives of the Pakistan Government. For whatever reason, over and over again we are in contact. There are issues, humanitarian issues that exist between the two countries. So, that relationship continues to be transacted. The levels of dialogue obviously are much diminished after the Mumbai attacks," she said.

She also said that India is consistently and closely monitoring developments in Pakistan.

"It is our neighbour. It is a country that is next door to us. And as I said, events, developments in Pakistan are of relevance to the entire region. And obviously the growth of civil society, the strengthening of democratic institutions in Pakistan is good for our future," Rao said.

However, she refused to comment on Pakistan's internal affairs, saying that it would not be advisable.

"Dialogue between India and Pakistan is obviously the way forward for normalisation of relations and to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries. We in India have never turned our back on dialogue with Pakistan. But let me also add that terrorism is a standalone phenomenon, and terrorism affects the climate of dialogue. It affects the progress of this dialogue," the foreign secretary said.

Pakistan, she said, can clearly do more on dealing with the issue of terrorism to convince India.

"India's attitude is for dialogue and to promote a peaceful resolution of problems with Pakistan. But, Karan, for all of us who have grown up against the background of what has happened in this relationship, I think there is a sense of deja vu. And I feel a sense of sadness also that people, ordinary people in Pakistan, are being misled by propaganda of this sort," she said. (ANI)

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