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India will seek access to Lakhvi, says Chidamabaram

Source: PTI
February 25, 2010 00:17 IST
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India will seek access to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and other handlers of the 26/11 terror attack during the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan on Wednesday, a "not very optimistic" home minister P Chidambaram said on Tuesday.

The issue of 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai will be high on the agenda of the Indian delegation as it will enter "talk about talks" during the foreign secretary-level deliberations. Speaking at the 'NDTV Indian of the Year Awards' function in New Delhi, Chidamabaram said these talks will be "without a preset agenda" with both sides bringing the issues that concern them to the table.

"We will bring to the table as the top issues terrorism, pending issues of 26/11, the need to arrest a number of people. I have just got the dossier ready...the need to give us access to those suspects or accused and then whatever Pakistan brings you can't stop the country from bringing on the table just as they can't stop us from bringing to the table what we think is important," he said.

According to Chidambaram, New Delhi is "not going to enter into substantive talks on these issues as the External Affairs minister said these are talks about talks". When asked if anything has emerged from Islamabad that makes the government optimistic, he said "optimism is a state of mind." When pressed further on what his state of mind is, the home minister replied "not very optimistic".

"We have not gone back on our position that Pakistan must take action against those who are behind the 26/11 attack nor have we diluted our stand that Pakistan must dismantle terror infrastructure and I think tomorrow you will find the foreign secretaries put forth these points firmly and clearly but how long can you say this is my stand. I stand here and I won't move at all...we can't change our neighbours."We have tried to change our neighbours' attitude and approach but we may not be successful even in that," Chidambaram said.

"We are going to the table without a pre-set agenda because we are talking about an agenda. So, when we go to the table we will take to the table issues that concern us...," he said. Talking about Wednesday's encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore, Chidambaram said they (militants) were "very determined and hardened guys" as one of them rose from under the debris and injured an Army jawan before he was neutralised by troops.

"We are against a very determined adversary," he said. They (security forces) are still looking for two more bodies... we think... but they could still be alive under the debris, he added. This enemy is no different from the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Infact the LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayiba), the HuJI... this is HuJI (referring to yesterday's encounter at Sopore) work with the Al Qaeda.

Talking about the recent truce offer of Maoists, he said "all that I ask CPI(Maoist) to say is four words-- we will abjure violence". He added that once he receives the authentic communication from Communist Party of India-Maoist, he would require 72 hours to speak to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of seven naxal affected states and get back to them with a "prompt and positive response."

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