Updated: February 12, 2010 01:45 IST

Antony terms talks a conscious initiative

Special Correspondent
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Even though we are not fully satisfied by the action taken by Pakistan, we feel they have taken some action as per our wish: Defence Minister A.K. Antony
The Hindu
Even though we are not fully satisfied by the action taken by Pakistan, we feel they have taken some action as per our wish: Defence Minister A.K. Antony

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Thursday delinked the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks from Islamabad’s efforts at dismantling terrorist camps and the increased levels of infiltration.

Though the government remains concerned at the increasing bids to infiltrate, and no attempt by Islamabad to pull down 42 terror camps operating in Pakistan, New Delhi is going ahead with the talks, since Islamabad took “some action as per our [India’s] wish.” “So we thought it would be better to start a dialogue. India has taken a conscious decision after seeing that there are some signs of action on the part of the government of Pakistan; we took a conscious decision,” Mr. Antony told journalists on the sidelines of the 12th Asian Security Conference.

He was responding to a question whether India’s offer of talks stemmed from its worries over the increasing infiltration bids, and reacting to the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s comment that it was India that budged from its position.

“That is not the reason. We’re watching the developments; we were watching the actions being taken by the government of Pakistan, and though we are not fully satisfied with the action against the terrorist outfits, we feel that they have taken some action as per our wish. So it is a positive development…we thought it is better to start a dialogue,” Mr. Antony said.

Earlier addressing the conference, organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses on ‘Asia’s Strategic Futures- 2030,’ he said India’s willingness to resume the dialogue should be viewed in the context of the bilateral relations having a huge bearing on regional peace and security. India’s experience in dealing with terrorism showed that the distinction between state-sponsored terrorism and the role of non-state players was “often blurred and rather indistinguishable.”

While trans-national terrorism emerged as a major threat, India’s neighbourhood, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan which are homes to organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Al-Qaeda, posed a threat to the world, while people there were victims too, he said.

Referring to the successful test-firing of Agni-III, Mr. Antony said it was not aimed at any particular country, but was meant to safeguard India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “Our relationship with China is progressing at the bilateral and multi-lateral level. We have always invested in confidence building measures. We are carrying out continuous appraisals of its military capabilities. At the same time, we are taking all necessary measures to shape our responses.”

Mr. Antony said space security was becoming an extremely crucial issue. The militarisation of space could be reduced if regional powers worked together in the light of India, China and Japan successfully completing their missions to the moon.

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