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December 21, 2001
1135 IST

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India ready to take on
Pakistan at two levels

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

India's two-pronged fight against terrorism involves a prolonged diplomatic offensive coupled with defence preparedness to repulse any "nasty surprise" from Pakistan, a top government official said on Friday.

"Like the United States in the case of Taliban, we have launched a comprehensive diplomatic offensive to apprise the international community of Pakistan's active role in fomenting terrorism on Indian soil. Even Arab countries acknowledge that terrorist activities all over the world have to be put down with a heavy hand," pointed out a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The other simultaneous measure, he indicated, was to ensure that "there are no nasty surprises like Kargil. This time we are more than prepared."

The official said Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh is in touch with the "leading players" in international arena to give "documented evidence" about the role of Pakistan-based groups -- Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba -- in terrorist activities in India.

"General [Pervez] Musharraf's military government has been rattled by the presence of US troops in Pakistan hunting for terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. It is feeling trapped, because if Osama bin Laden is indeed captured in Pakistani territory, Islamabad will cut a sorry figure in the eyes of the international community," the official pointed out.

Ministry of External Affairs spokeswoman Nirupama Rao recently told reporters that India was heartened by the "pouring expressions of sympathy" from the international community. She said that as the gruesome details of the attack on Parliament become known all over the world, New Delhi was getting messages of solidarity and support.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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