India blames jehadi groups for terror, not Islamabad


New Delhi : India said Monday that it desired a “stable and peaceful” Pakistan, adding that it held Islamist groups, rather than the government in Islamabad, responsible for terrorist activities against it.

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“We know that Pakistani territory is used by groups that engage in all sorts of activities that include terrorism,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters. “That is different from saying Pakistan is doing it.

“These are groups in Pakistan that promote various forms of instability,” he added.

Menon said the situation vis-à-vis Pakistan’s promotion of terror in India was “better today than what it was four years ago. There will be periodic ups and downs. We need to stop these things”.

Asked to comment about the situation in Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf has clamped emergency and jailed thousands, Menon said: “We hope for a stable and peaceful Pakistan, in our own interests. We would like to have a friendly neighbourhood. We will work with anyone who (works for that).”

Menon said the fourth round of the India-Pakistan peace process had been largely concluded but added that the foreign secretaries of both countries would meet only when both sides feel “comfortable”.

He also said that India would “very soon” discuss a safeguards agreement with global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to take forward the Indo-US nuclear pact. But he refused to say when.

“We will be talking to IAEA very soon,” the foreign secretary said in response to a question on the state of the nuclear pact and negotiations with the Vienna-based IAEA.

He said discussions with the IAEA would be followed by talks with other countries, including the US, on nuclear cooperation.

“Frankly, for us the issue is the India-specific safeguards agreement, which is what we are going to discuss (with IAEA).”

Menon said a domestic consensus on the nuclear deal was also important.

“We will try to build as broad a consensus as possible within India… We also do a domestic process, talking about the issue.”

The Indo-US civil nuclear deal, which seeks to open nuclear commerce for New Delhi, has been bitterly opposed by the communist allies of the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

But last week, the communists did a U-turn and allowed the government to talk to the IAEA on the condition that India would not sign any India-specific safeguards agreement without the consent of the Left.