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Hafiz Saeed not ‘litmus test’ but Pakistan action important: NSA

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M.K. Narayanan.
M.K. Narayanan.

Siddharth Varadarajan

India sees increase in terrorist capabilities; avoiding major incident top priority

NEW DELHI: In his first substantive comments on relations with Pakistan since the July 16 Sharm el-Sheikh summit, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said that averting another major Mumbai-like incident was the government’s top priority and that unless Islamabad took “real action” against those involved in terrorism, the progress it had reported so far in the Mumbai case would amount to “a chimera.”

In an interview to The Hindu on Saturday, he painted a picture of official frustration at Pakistan’s unwillingness to act against the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Muhammad despite the fact that there was concrete information about these groups re-establishing training camps.

The threat

“In places like Manshera and Muzaffarabad, enlargement of what I would call training camps is going on… Their capabilities are increasing and we see the threat, and the threat is not to Kashmir but to some of the hinterland areas. That is our concern. That is what [our] agencies are concentrating on.”

As for LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, India had provided information about his involvement in the Mumbai attacks. “I wouldn’t like to use a strong term like ‘litmus test.’ But it’s important … If an incident of this nature has taken place and if [Pakistan] is saying ‘Yes, we are willing to go the extra mile to help you,’ if [they] don’t take action in an instance of this kind, then what can [we] expect?” One of the terrorists, ‘Kasab,’ had provided information about Saeed’s role, Mr. Narayanan said, adding that if Pakistan was now going to say, ‘Give us enough evidence that in a final court of law a thing of this kind can stand,’ then “there is nothing that you can really do in these matters.”

Mr. Narayanan said that establishing the facts about the Mumbai attacks was important in order to tell the world about the kind of threat Pakistan posed, but avoiding another major attack was vital from the domestic point of view.

Basic question

“I think the basic question for us is, will they do something to prevent another incident? The Prime Minister has made it clear that there are enough items in the pipeline that cause concern. Now, they should do something on that. And since there is no [international] pressure exerted on them on that, I don’t know whether they will be [willing]. We have not seen any evidence of that. So we presume nothing is happening.”

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