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Pak should use same force against anti-India groups as Taliban, says Krishna

By Ajay Kaul
Last updated on: July 23, 2009 21:49 IST
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India on Thursday asked Pakistan to demonstrate the same 'force' to deal with terror groups like Laskar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed like it has done against the Taliban in Swat Valley.

Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India also expected Pakistan to take action against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, whose outfit has been blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks of November 26 last year.

"Pakistan has taken certain steps in fighting Taliban in Swat. We expect Pakistan to go after those terrorist groups the activities of which are directed against India with the same force as they have shown against the Taliban in Swat," he told mediapersons while returning from Phuket in Thailand after attending Association of South East Asian Nations Regional Forum ministerial meetings.

When asked whether he was referring to outfits like LeT and JeM, he replied in the affirmative and said "all those groups who are operating from Pakistani soil and targeting India."

Asked whether there was any clarity on Pakistan challenging the release of Saeed in the country's Supreme Court, Krishna said Islamabad has said it has gone for an appeal as been reported in media.

"But we will have to wait and find out," he said.

Krishna refused to comment on the assertion by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Pakistan had, in the recent months, shown commitment to go after terrorists.

"That is something which is the US perception," the External Affairs Minister said.

Krishna also refused to react to a Pakistani media report that claimed that Islamabad had proof about involvement of Research & Analysis Wing in the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3.

"Government does not react to press reports and media speculation. If there is anything that comes through the government side, then the government will react," he said.

On the controversy surrounding the Indo-Pak Joint Statement issued in Sharm El-Sheikh after the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, Krishna said the Prime Minister has already made a statement in Parliament spelling out India's position and there was nothing to add.

Earlier, addressing the ARF meeting in Phuket, Krishna, without naming Pakistan, highlighted the problem of terrorism emanating from India's neighbourhood against the backdrop of the Mumbai attacks.

He strongly pitched for developing a "coordinated", "effective" and "focussed" response among the Asian nations to defeat the menace.

Terrorists are becoming sophisticated and developing networks threatening the world, Krishna said, addressing the meeting which was also attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Krishna later said Qureshi, during the conference, condemned terrorism and claimed that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. Qureshi said Pakistan was ready to join hands with others to fight terror, Krishna added.

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Ajay Kaul
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