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India’s problem is Pak not Afg: Fmr NSA

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jan 27: India’s problem is Pakistan which not only promotes “terrorism” from its own soil but also trains those in Afghanistan, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon has said. The top diplomat, who also served as Foreign Secretary and India’s ambassador to China, rejected the claim that there was a direct link between economics and peaceful bilateral relationship.

“An economically strong or weak Pakistan does not matter. Pakistan was doing well economically in the 60s and 70s. It has been doing miserably for the last 15 years, we still don’t have good relations with it,” Menon said Saturday at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

“All we want is Pakistan to be at peace with itself. Thank you. We want to get on with our lives. We have better things to do,” he said. Menon said the “problem” lay in the political needs of some people on the both sides to maintain a certain level of control, antagonism and hostility.

 

“For the Pakistan Army it is obvious because it helps them to have a say in the politics, budget and in the Pakistani imagination that they are the defenders of the country,” he said.

“India does not face an Afghan problem. We have a Pakistan problem. The ‘terrorists’ are coming from there. The ‘terrorists’ who are even trained in Afghanistan are by Pakistan or the ISI,” Menon said.

He, however, said the military action was not the solution to settle the longstanding problem. “I don’t think there is a military solution to the Indo-Pak problem. Ever since we both went overtly nuclear, it has stabilised the situation and pushed the level of violence down. We fought three wars in the first 25 years and we haven’t fought since and that is when nuclear programmes took off,” the former NSA said.

He was participating in a panel discussion alongside Pulitzer Prize winning American author and academic Steve Coll and US journalist and author Peter Bergen.

Menon said while other countries have a “common interest’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s interest lies in promoting terrorism in the war-ravaged country.

The veteran diplomat said the US might change its behaviour after the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but not Pakistan as the problem is intrinsic to Islamabad’s structure.

Prime Minister Modi visited Pakistan in December 2015 but the terror attacks by Pakistan-based militants in Pathankot in January 2016 and then in Uri in September strained the ties between the two countries. India cancelled the foreign minister-level meeting with Pakistan to be held in New York last year, citing the “brutal” killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of the postal stamps by Islamabad “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Pakistan’s powerful military has always played a crucial role in the country’s politics. The army has ruled Pakistan for more than 33 years in the country’s 70-year history.


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We stand united with our soldiers: All-party resolution

No call for calm in it disappoints Omar

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New Delhi, Feb 16: All political parties of India Saturday put up a united face and expressed their “determination” to fight militancy following the Lethpora attack, underlining their solidarity with security forces for “defending the country’s unity and integrity”.
A meeting of all political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, passed a resolution condemning the attack and alleged support being given to it from across the border.
The all-party meeting took place in the aftermath of one of the biggest attacks on government forces on Thursday on the highway near Lethpora in Awantipora town, in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed.
Militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility for it stating that a local recruit of its carried out the attack.
The resolution did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the “menace of cross-border terrorism” which of late, it added, is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border.
The meeting was convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Condemning the attack, the resolution reiterated that India has displayed firmness and resilience in tackling it.
The parties vowed to stand with the families in their hour of grief.
“…Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border, India has displayed firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. We stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism, defending India’s unity and integrity,” read the resolution passed at the all-party meeting.
The meeting was attended by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, D Raja of the CPI, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP among others.
Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav are among others who attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure with the resolution.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, Omar wrote: “Disappointed the resolution did not include a call for calm. Reports of violence in Jammu & tension in university/college campuses in some states, I would have expected an appeal for calm to have gone with the condemnation & condolences.”

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Army officer killed in IED blast along Rajouri LoC

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Srinagar, Feb 16: An army officer was killed and a soldier suffered injuries on Saturday while defusing and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on Line of Control in Rajouri.

The Major-rank officer was defusing the IED which had been allegedly planted by militants. The officer is from the Corps of Engineers.

The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, officials said.

 

The IED was planted 1.5 km inside the Line of Control in the Naushera sector of Rajouri district.

The army has confirmed that it was an IED blast and not a BAT action.

The IED blast came two days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish attacker rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.

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Militants can’t hide, will be punished: PM

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Yavatmal (Maha), Feb 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that militant groups who carried out the Pulwama attack that left 49 CRPF troopers dead, could not hide and “will be punished” as the government forces have been given a “free hand” to tackle the inevitable.
Paying tributes to two Central Reserve Police Force troopers from Maharashtra and others killed in the deadly attack on Thursday, Modi said the country had “faith and pride in our soldiers and security forces and their sacrifices would not go in vain.”
“Wherever the militant groups and perpetrators may hide, our forces will flush them out and punish them,” Modi said amidst cheers from the gathering of farmers and women here.
“When and how to accomplish this had been left to the security forces,” he said, appealing to the people of the country to be “patient” and repose confidence in the armed forces, “as the militant perpetrators shall not be spared at any cost”, he added.

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