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Chidambaram slams Pakistan for 'hostility towards India'
September 18, 2008 00:36 IST
In a sharp attack on Pakistan, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday accused it of supporting terrorist activities and communal violence in India, even as he voiced concern over the alienation of Muslim and Christian communities in this country.
Noting that India is caught in a 'troubled neighbourhood', Chidambaram said Pakistan has taken its 'hostility towards India beyond Kashmir'.
"Pakistan is implacably opposed to India. While Kashmir appears to be the central issue of contention, Pakistan has taken its hostility beyond Kashmir and supports terrorist activities and communal conflagrations in other parts of India," he said while delivering the K M Cariappa Meomorial Lecture in New Delhi [Images].
The Finance Minister said that while there are challenges from across the border, there is also a challenge of alienation of the Muslim community and more recently of the Christian community.
"The divide between the Muslims and Hindus is taking new and dangerous forms," he said.
Chidambaram referred to the 'ghettoisation, social boycott, discrimination in employment and blurring of lines between the state and religion as witnessed in Gujarat' and said "out of the hopelessness and despair of the Muslim community -- and if not addressed firmly -- the Christian tribal communities too will rise new waves of terror," he said.
"There is no other explanation for the phenomenon of graduates, engineers and doctors born, educated and living in India taking to the path of violence", he said.
Referring to India's 'troubled neighbourhood', he pointed out how Myanmar gave shelter to insurgent groups and Nepal remained an enigma under the new government led by Maoists.
The finance minister said it is difficult to predict at this stage the future of India-Nepal relations under a Maoist-led coalition government in the Himalayan nation.
"But our desire is to have a special and strategic relationship with that country," he said.
On Myanmar, he said the country, which is overtly friendly, continues to give shelter to insurgent groups that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
Talking about other neighbours, he said 'near-failure' of the state in Bangladesh has triggered a massive migration to India.
"It still continues in a significant degree, altering demographic profile of many districts of West Bengal and Assam, putting enormous strain on India's food, financial and fiscal resources," the Finance Minister said.
He said the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka [Images] has pushed thousands of refugees across the Palk Straits into India.
"The security of India consists of many elements -- food security, energy security, financial stability, border security and cross-border security -- each one of which is impacted by events in the neighbourhood," Chidambaram said.
The Finance Minister said India also faces a formidable challenge posed by the Naxalites [Images].
"Their area of influence has expanded. Their capacity to strike has increased and their determination to prevail emboldened because of the lack of development in and loss of control of the state governments over the affected areas," said Chidambaram, who was Minister of state for Internal Security in the Rajiv Gandhi government.
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