NATIONAL

India will behave responsibly: Sinha

SINGAPORE Aug. 26. The External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said here today that India would "behave responsibly'' in identifying those who might be behind the latest blasts in Mumbai.

Noting that "we are a responsible nation'', Mr. Sinha told The Hindu during the course of his visit here that "it is known throughout the world that Pakistan has indulged, is indulging, in cross-border terrorism against India."

However, "as far as individual acts of terror are concerned, we should be able to say it on the basis of evidence." India had acted in a similarly responsible fashion as regards past terrorist acts as well, he said.

As for the impact of the latest blasts on the terror-sensitive India-Pakistan ties, Mr. Sinha said: "The peace process is going apace just as terrorism is going up."

With the process of "normalisation" still on, the representatives of the two countries would be meeting for civil aviation talks tomorrow, he underlined. On the new upbeat mood in Sino-Indian relations, he was emphatic that any notion of a Chinese attempt to undermine this momentum through the recent "pre-meditated'' action along the disputed border was "not based on facts at all." The Mumbai blasts figured prominently in the public lecture that Mr. Sinha delivered under the auspices of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies here as also during his talks with the Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, and the Foreign Minister, S. Jayakumar.

Mr. Goh expressed shock and sadness while condemning "such acts of violence and terror," according to Singapore officials. Prof. Jayakumar said, after the talks, that he appreciated Mr. Sinha's gesture of coming here at this time and quoted him as having said that he was asked by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, not to postpone the visit on the ground that any such move "would mean that the terrorists had succeeded in their plans to destabilise the Indian Government."

Mr. Sinha, responding to questions from the audience after his public lecture, said that "there are certain patterns which link (the latest Mumbai blasts) to international terrorist groups." However, he would "pronounce (on this issue) after we have evidence of this."

Mr. Sinha spoke elaborately, too, about how India and China "have allowed (their) relationship to race forward'' in many fields despite their differing perceptions on the Sino-Indian boundary dispute.

"Relative peace and tranquillity on the border," too, had been achieved.

In his main public lecture, Mr. Sinha said "Mumbai was deliberately chosen because what these terrorists and their sponsors envy the most is India's success in the economic field."

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