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We will support Lanka in its fight against LTTE: India
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January 12, 2008 10:47 IST

Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] visit to China, India has said that the Chinese army "sometimes" does intrude on its territory, but the issues are addressed through established mechanisms.

India also hinted its backing to the Sri Lankan Army's action against Tamil Tigers, saying any country is free to take action against terrorists within its legal system.

"Sometimes incursions take place. Every incursion is taken care of. It's being addressed through the established mechanism," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Karan Thapar on 'Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN.

He said there was nothing to worry about the incursions as the mechanisms established by India and China to deal with such issues "are doing well".

Mukherjee, however, admitted that the infrastructure development on the Chinese side of the border is "much superior to that on our side".

"Their infrastructure in terms of road, electricity and availability of other facilities is much superior to that on our side. It is a known fact. That is why we have decided that we should also build up the roads and other types of infrastructural facilities," he said.

On reported concerns expressed by senior Army officers on facilities on the Chinese side, Mukherjee said, "There is no question of letting down our vigilance and alertness."

On the developments in Pakistan, the minister said he had "tremendous faith" in the resilience of the Pakistani people to manage their crisis.

Asked whether he believed President Pervez Musharraf [Images] faced the danger of being removed by the Army, Mukherjee said there was an element of unpredictability.

"Only future can show what course of action will be taken by the establishment or the people of Pakistan. It is not predictable. An element of unpredictability is there, but I can't say the situation will turn around in a positive manner," he said.

The minister side-stepped a query on whether he saw Musharraf as part of the solution or the problem.

"We ought to deal with whoever is in office in Pakistan. Therefore we do not make any value judgement of any individual," he said.

Dubbing the Tamil Tigers as "terrorists", Mukherjee hinted at support to the Lankan Army's action against them.

"Of late, the clashes between Sri Lankan forces and LTTE terrorists have increased. So far as terrorism is concerned, our position is that of zero tolerance. So any country that takes action against terrorists are free to do so within their legal system," he said.

On Sri Lanka's [Images] decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE, Mukherjee said, "We shall have to see what impact it has."

However, he said India wanted the Lankan government to pursue efforts to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of ethnic Tamil minorities within that country's political framework.

He said India decided against sending a delegation to attend the burial of slain leader Benazir Bhutto, because it did not want to "embarrass" the Pakistani authorities.

Mukherjee said the Indian mission in Islamabad was in touch with other missions from various countries who were keen to send delegations for Bhutto's funeral.

"We were all advised not to come ... in this hour of difficulty we did not want to embarrass the (Pakistani) authorities and we listened to their advice," he said.

Mukherjee dismissed suggestions that the Congress was worried about the rise of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images], who recently pulled off a spectacular electoral win in the assembly elections.

"There is nothing to be worried by the rise of any individual or even by the success of a political party because I have seen that political parties come and go," he said.

Mukherjee refused to comment on the politics of Modi, saying "when the people of Gujarat have expressed confidence in him as the chief minister, we have to accept it. It is as simple as that".


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