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Updated: November 4, 2009 15:48 IST

Resurgence of Taliban, Al-Qaeda a real challenge: Nirupama Rao

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Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at her office in New Delhi. File Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at her office in New Delhi. File Photo: S. Subramanium

Describing the resurgence of Taliban and Al-Qaeda as “real challenge”, India on Thursday asked the international community to put “effective pressure” on Pakistan to implement its commitment to deal with terror groups in its territory, failing which the region could be catapulted into spiral of violence.

“Terrorism remains essential challenge to the regional security.....There is a real challenge posed by the resurgence of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. There is a need for the international community to re-commit its assistance to Afghanistan.....

“There is a growing consensus that the increase in terror activities in Afghanistan is linked to the support available in the contiguous areas,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said while delivering a keynote address at a conference on South Asia-2020.

Emphasising the need for the international community to “put effective pressure on Pakistan to implement its stated commitment to deal with terror groups within its territory or else the past eight years in Afghanistan will be wiped-out,” she said “failure to act effectively runs the risk of catapulting the region into spiral of violence“.

She also rubbished Pakistan’s claim of seizing India-made arms from the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan, saying there was no “factual basis” for these reports.

Ms. Rao also described the recent incidents of violence in the neighbourhood as the “stark reminders” for those fostering or bargaining with terrorist elements that they can also not be left out from the consequences.

India has time and again conveyed to Pakistan that it was interested in having meaningful discussions with it but it was not possible unless they deal with the terror elements there and not allow them to indulge in anti-India activities, she said.

“Our position is very clear....We want stable and peaceful Pakistan and we will work consistently towards that,” the Foreign Secretary said.

Ms. Rao said it was one of the primary goals of the country was to have a peaceful and stable neighbourhood.

Giving details of India’s relations with other South Asian countries, she said the country has always been in the forefront to provide assistance for development to its neighbours and believed in better connectivity with them at every level.

IANS story adds

Nirupama Rao denies strain in India-China

Denying any strain in bilateral ties due to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India Wednesday said Sino-Indian ties were set to acquire “more substance and relevance” in days to come.

“There is no strain in bilateral ties,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here when asked whether the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to Arunachal Pradesh Nov 8 had strained ties between the two countries.

“Our position is very clear,” Ms. Rao said while alluding to New Delhi’s stance that the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in the hill resort of Dharamsala for the last five decades, can go anywhere in India provided he does not indulge in political activities.

Describing the relationship with China as “complex”, Ms. Rao said the rise of India and China was “a source of dynamism” in the region and the world.

Speaking at a seminar on South Asia organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Ms. Rao stressed that despite “outstanding issues”, India-China ties were set to acquire “greater dynamism and relevance” in days to come.

Ms. Rao pointed out that the resolution of outstanding issues like the border dispute would take some time and entail greater political will on part of both countries.

Rejecting Beijing’s objections to the Tibetan leader’s visit to India’s northeastern state, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last week after meeting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the Dalai Lama was “an honoured guest” of India.

“(But) we do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities. As a proof of that, last year we took resolute action at the time of Olympics when there were reports that some Tibetan refugees might disrupt (the Olympic torch relay),” he had said.

In a subtle shift of stance, China Tuesday accused the Dalai Lama of trying to “wreck” Sino-Indian ties by his proposed trip to Arunachal Pradesh, over which Beijing claims sovereignty, but refrained from condemning New Delhi for allowing the visit.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu Tuesday flayed the Dalai Lama for his “separatist” activities. “The Dalai Lama often lies and often engages in acts to sabotage China’s relations with other countries,” said Ma.

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