Gilani statement on terror very irresponsible: Chidambaram

If 26/11 recurs, the whole world will hold Pakistan responsible, he says

New Delhi: Asserting that Islamabad will be held responsible if there is another Mumbai-type attack, New Delhi on Monday termed “very irresponsible” Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s statement that his country could not guarantee that such an incident would not recur.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram expressed unhappiness over the way Pakistan dealt with the evidence provided to it of the Mumbai terror attacks, and said India continued to be “vulnerable” as the “level of threat is pretty high.”

The Minister rejected Pakistan’s effort to make a distinction between state and non-state actors. “I don’t think Pakistan can get away with this charade of making a distinction between state and non-state ... if it emanates from Pakistan soil,” he told Times Now.

“I never believe in this distinction between state and non-state actor as far as Pakistan is concerned and information that we have recently makes it quite clear that this so-called distinction does not exist. Therefore, if there is another attack, emanating from Pakistan soil, I think whole world will hold Pakistan responsible.”

On Mr. Gilani’s contention that Islamabad could not guarantee that there would be no repeat of 26/11, Mr. Chidambaram said: “Mr. Gilani is the Prime Minister of that country, ordinarily I should not comment on the Prime Minister’s statement. But with great respect, that was [a] very irresponsible statement.”

Asked whether he was worried about another attack taking place, the Minister said: “We remain vulnerable. But it is not as if something is going to happen today or tomorrow. Like any other country, specially a country very close to the epicentre of terrorism which is Afghanistan, Pakistan. We are vulnerable.”

He, however, expressed confidence that India had the capacity to neutralise any threat and “if luck also plays a part, I think we will be able to face any challenge.”

While rejecting any distinction between state and non-state actors, Mr. Chidambaram referred to the recent suicide attack at the Lal Chowk in Srinagar. “There was a handler. Conversations have been recorded ... can Pakistan get away by saying this is a non-state actor? Is it not Pakistan’s obligation to examine who the handler was and tell us who the handler was, where did he operate from?”

Asked about U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ statement that India’s patience would be “limited” if 26/11 recurred, he said: “I think he was in a way articulating the angst of India. I would not have used those words that would lead to [a] diplomatic row, but I think he was articulating the angst of India.”

India was not happy with the way Pakistan was dealing with the information available to it. “In fact, they are dragging their feet. But we will continue to enhance capacity to meet any threat from Pakistan or elsewhere.”

On counter-measures taken to thwart possible terror strikes in the light of recent intelligence inputs, Mr. Chidambaram said: “We take appropriate pre-emptive measures. We have strengthened airport security. We have strengthened security on the aircraft. We are fully alive to the nature of the threat and we have taken adequate pre-emptive measures.”

Talking about the recent infiltration attempts in Jammu and Kashmir, he said: “It seems that in the new year they have stepped up their level of infiltration. We have had at least half-a-dozen incidents of infiltration.

“Every one of them has been repelled ... it is possible that some have sneaked through. There have been incidents of cutting the fence. Yesterday [Sunday], we recovered two very large caches of arms, ammunition etc. ... our response is also pretty effective and swift.” — PTI

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