Military action not child’s play: Anand Sharma


Chandigarh : Military action against Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks was not “child’s play” and India is using diplomatic channels to get Pakistan to hand over the perpetrators of the carnage, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said here Wednesday.

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Ruling out any military action against Pakistan in the immediate future, Sharma asserted that India was a mature democracy and military strikes did not make any sense when diplomatic channels were available to make Pakistan fall in line.

“Answering through military action is not child’s play when we are a part of a globalized world. We want to resolve all our differences in a peaceful manner. Nevertheless, our security agencies are capable enough to meet any eventuality,” Sharma told reporters here.

Sharma was reacting to Pakistan asking India to de-escalate the tension between the two countries by withdrawing its troops to peacetime positions. India says it has not moved any troops to forward positions.

He said that Pakistan, which was in a state of denial over the Mumbai attacks being linked to its territory, was now under tremendous international pressure to act against those behind the assault in which more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners, were killed.

“The United Nations Security Council has told Pakistan to take firm action against the perpetrators and various terror outfits flourishing there. Under international law, it is obligatory for Pakistan to act accordingly if they are provided with sufficient evidence,” Sharma pointed out.

Asked if India is sharing evidence related to the Mumbai attacks with Pakistan, Sharma said: “In the past also we have shared enough evidence with Pakistan, but unfortunately our neighbouring country is living in a state of denial. However, this time also we will share all the evidence with them and see to it that they do the needful.”

Responding to a statement by Pakistani National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani in which he did not rule out the possibility of captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab being a Pakistani national, Sharma said: “This evidence is adequate to indicate that they are already under pressure. Pakistan had made several assurances to Indian government in the past and now it is high time for them to meet those assurances.”

Sharma said that terror and violence were the biggest challenge faced by the India at the moment and the Mumbai strikes had affected India’s relations with Pakistan.

“This fact is known to the entire world that Pakistan is supporting terrorists. Therefore, instead of denying they should take appropriate steps against terrorists and those who provide them financial assistance in their country,” Sharma pointed out.

On Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani accusing the Congress of playing politics over terror, Sharma said: “Advani and the BJP lack vision and they have not been able to move ahead with the times. They are trapped in thier old rhetoric and agendas.”

“The BJP is using religion and terror to garner votes in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Every political party should understand that only by remaining united can we fight the scourge of terrorism,” he added.

Assuring Sikhs who have been agitating against the ban on turbans in French schools, Sharma said that there had been a change in the stance of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and he had assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he would look into the issue.