India hopes that international opinion and its pressure, combined with the refusal to engage in a dialogue, will force Pakistan to change its attitude towards terror groups operating from its soil, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said.

Mr. Chidambaram said there were several attempts by terrorists from across the border as well as modules within the country to launch terror attacks like 26/11 and these were successfully foiled by the security agencies with better intelligence inputs.

“I can’t change Pakistan’s attitude. I can only hope that international opinion, Indian pressure and India’s refusal to engage Pakistan in a dialogue, will force Pakistan to change its attitude,” he said in a CNN-IBN programme. “We have said that always on Pakistan not abandoning its policy on supporting terror groups post- 26/11.”

Looking at Islamabad’s attitude, India strengthened its security manifold and was now better prepared than what it was a year ago, he said.

“All I can say is given Pakistan’s attitude, am I better prepared? Have I built more capacity and more competence? I think I have.”

The lead catch

Mr. Chidambaram dismissed as “misplaced criticism” the allegation that Rs. 31 crore was spent on protection of Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’, lone surviving Mumbai gunman. “He is a lead that finally made Pakistan admit that the terrorists were Pakistanis; masterminds were Pakistanis and forced Pakistanis to start a trial. What course the trial will take, I can’t say,” he said.

Had ‘Kasab’ also been been killed along with the other terrorists, Pakistan would have been in a state of total denial and there would not have been trial at all.

Asked whether trial of ‘Kasab’ was taking too much time, Mr.Chidambaram said a murder trial normally took time and in his case the trail had indeed been fast-tracked as all prosecution witnesses were being examined.

“I am proud of the fact that we are a country wedded to the rule of law. That we do not try ‘Kasab’ in a kangaroo court and hang him overnight, like they do it in some other countries.”

The Minister said: “Kasab’s trial shows India in [a] great light, that this is a country, regardless of the great pain it suffered, is willing to put the sole terrorist, who has been apprehended, on a fair and open trial.”

Asked whether he should get the capital punishment, Mr. Chidambaram said: “Kasab must first be pronounced guilty. It’s not what you think he is or what I think he is. Each one has got a view but ‘Kasab’ must first be pronounced guilty by competent court.

“Kasab must be allowed all judicial options available to him. After that, when the sentence is finally pronounced, we will take a call on your question.”

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