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Pak using jihadi elements to destabilise India, says Tharoor

October 19, 2009 21:22 IST

India has charged Pakistan of using 'jihadi' elements to "destabilise" it and Afghanistan and expressed willingness to normalise relations with Islamabad if it takes one step towards peace. "It (Pakistan) has been one of actually using jihadi militants as an instrument of destabilisation in both Afghanistan and India. And we think that's wrong," Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview.

"Let me say one thing very clear to you. We actually have a vision of a peaceful subcontinent. India is not interested in being a threat to Pakistan or any other country," Tharoor said. "We want good relations with our neighbours. And we actually believe, fundamentally at the strategic level, that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pakistan is in our interests,"he said. He recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that India will meet Pakistan more than half-way if it takes one step. "He (Prime Minister) said this in our Parliament. It takes a lot of political courage to do that when you're talking about a country from which assaults like the Mumbai massacre have been launched against us," Tharoor said. "All we're asking is for Pakistan to show us enough good faith, and it will be reciprocated with generosity and conviction on the Indian side," Tharoor said.

When referred to Pakistan's often repeated stand that India has deployed a large number of its troops along the Pak border, Tharoor said there is a history to that as all the declared and undeclared attack to India has come from Pakistan. "It looks like a chicken-and-egg situation, because we would tell you that any attacks that have occurred in India have occurred from that border," Tharoor said. "There have been three wars, as you know, declared wars with Pakistan. And there was an undeclared one in Kargil. In every single one of those, the attacks began from the other side, from what is today Pakistan, into India. And therefore, for us not to have a defensive capacity would be irresponsible," he said.

Tharoor asserted that India has never initiated conflict, and never used any of these forces to constitute any sort of threat. The Indian Army on Pakistan border is in a purely defensive posture. "Don't forget something else. Very bluntly, Pakistan has nothing that India seeks--except, we would like to see a peaceful Pakistan," Tharoor said. "Our big priority in foreign policy is actually helping our own country to develop. We have 260 million living below a poverty line that's been drawn just this side of the funeral pyre. We don't want them to have their resources diverted to needless and unproductive conflict," Tharoor said.

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