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Pakistan epicentre of terrorism, says India

Last updated on: January 20, 2011 18:10 IST

Pakistan epicentre of terrorism, says India

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Dubbing Pakistan as the 'epicentre of terrorism', India on Thursday slammed it for its inaction against the perpetrators of the terror attack on Mumbai, saying it has not been able to punish any of those accused of masterminding the terror strikes.

"Pakistan should be sensitive to a few of our concerns. One of our concerns is terrorism and how Pakistan deals with terror and terrorists," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is currently visiting Australia, told the Indian media after an interaction with the Indian community.

His comments came in reaction to a question on recent remarks made by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quershi, who favoured a constructive and productive dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir problem.


Image: The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai during the terror siege
Photographs: Reuters
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'Pak has not punished any of the accused'

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On the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorists, Krishna said, "They (Islamabad) have not been able to punish any of those accused of masterminding, conspiring for that attack. When I went to Islamabad (in July last year) I conveyed that to Foreign Minister Quershi with passion".

"I think public opinion back in India will feel assuaged when those culprits, who are responsible for those attacks in Mumbai, are brought to justice," he said.

Pakistan has arrested seven suspects, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, over the Mumbai attacks, but their trial has been mired in controversies and delays.

Krishna also said that India wanted to see a stable and democratic Pakistan.

Separately, Krishna, in an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said that Pakistan is the 'epicenter of terrorism'.

"In my opinion, Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism in the region," he said.


Image: Paramilitary personnel surround Taj Mahal Hotel
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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Krishna discusses nuclear energy with Australia

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He also said that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led forces in Afghanistan should think twice about engaging Pakistan as an ally in the battle against the Taliban.

Speaking on his meetings with Australian leaders, Krishna told the Indian media that the discussions covered areas of mutual concern and interest.

"Naturally, this has included our interest in nuclear energy, uranium and the question of the problems faced by Indian students, which have fortunately improved," he said. 

Earlier, while addressing members of the Indian community in Melbourne, Krishna said that since his last visit in 2009, the Australian government has introduced many measures to improve the safety and security of the students and these measures have had a positive effect.


Image: A file photo of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi with EXternal Affairs Minister S M Krishna in Islamabad
Photographs: Reuters
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'Indian community in Australia playing an important role'

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"However, I do note that revised immigration policies have had an adverse impact on Indian students. Here, while we must realise that being a student does not automatically mean entitlement to permanent residency, I have requested for consideration to be given to our affected students. Foreign Minister (Kevin) Rudd has assured me that he will keep our concerns in mind," he said.

Krishna said that during his meeting with new Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, he was assured that the safety and security of the Indian community will continue to be addressed pro-actively.

"The Indian community in Australia is playing an important and constructive role here in building bridges of friendship and understanding between our two countries," he said.


Image: Flowers and candles from a vigil are seen at the park where Nitin Garg of India was stabbed in the western suburbs of Melbourne
Photographs: Mick Tsikas/Reuters
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'I hope the situation will not deteriorate further'

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On his talks with his counterpart Rudd, Krishna said they had 'very good and constructive discussions' covering the entire range of bilateral issues as also regional and multilateral issues.

"Besides the students issue, we discussed all the bilateral issues. We also discussed the uranium issue; I drew attention to our requirements, particularly in the context of climate change and India's energy and development requirements. We have agreed to continue to discuss this matter," he said.

"Foreign Minister Rudd has accepted my invitation to visit India this year, where this dialogue shall be continued," he said.

Krishna also extended condolences and sympathy for losses suffered by Australia and its people in the recent devastating floods, including in Victoria.

"On behalf of the people and the government of India, I express the hope that the situation will not deteriorate further and we pray for the speedy recovery for all those affected," he said.


Image: People are seen on the rooftop of a house in Grantham, a township between Toowomba and Brisbane, in this still image taken from video
Photographs: Reuters
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