India has no role in insurgency in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and unlike “certain other countries” it does not follow the policy of destabilising its neighbours, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said on Thursday.
Negating Pakistan’s recent accusations about India’s support to separatists in Balochistan, Mr. Tharoor said: “We have to make one thing very clear. We do not have a policy of destabilising our neighbours.”
“There is a great difference to the Indian approach to neighbourhood policy and the approach of certain other countries which have been instrumental in the past in sending terrorist to Indian soil,” Mr. Tharoor told PTI here.
He also underlined that no such evidence has been provided by Pakistan and said India was not engaged in any “unwholesome activity” in any of its neighbouring countries.
“But if the Pakistanis genuinely believe they have something to tell us then they should not hesitate to give us whatever evidence they believe they have,” Mr. Tharoor added.
Last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated that India was not involved in fomenting trouble in Balochistan.
“This is entirely wrong,” Mr. Singh said responding to Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s remarks that India was arming militants in Balochistan.
“We ourselves have consistently taken the approach that we want friendly stable relations with all our neighbours and we want to encourage their prosperity,” Mr. Tharoor, on a visit to New York, told PTI.
Stressing the need for healthy neighbourly relations, Mr. Tharoor said New Delhi had no intention or interest in undermining Islamabad’s authority in its backyard and India’s past actions supported this.
“Let us not forget that India has extended most favoured nation trading status to Pakistan going back to the nineties and Pakistan has yet to reciprocate,” he said.
“That is not the act of a country that wishes to destabilise a neighbour to offer it that kind of trading privilege,” he said.
On the issue of Taliban in Afghanistan, Mr. Tharoor said India had no problems with persons from the militant group who would lay down their weapons and participate in democratic reconstruction.
“Anybody of any political background who wants to contribute towards the peaceful development of Afghanistan we have no difficulty with,” Mr. Tharoor said.
But those who have taken up arms and prefer to use bullet rather than the ballot obviously should be stoutly resisted, he said.
He, however, said the Taliban who lay down arms would have to fall in line with the political structure and their country’s law.