India fears Pakistan’s problems can ‘easily’ spill over


New Delhi : Fearing that Pakistan’s problems could “easily” spill over to India, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday asked the armed forces to be vigilant about the happenings in the neighbouring country and to keep in mind that the groups Islamabad was now acting against were once considered assets by the establishment.

Support TwoCircles

Referring to Pakistan as a nation facing turmoil from within, Antony said “its problems could easily spill over”.

“Anti-Indian forces operating from Pakistan have been trying to destabilise us, as was evidenced by the dastardly attack in Mumbai last November. We must be vigilant about the happenings on our western border, while at the same time, try to make peace with our neighbour. However peace with Pakistan cannot be a one-way traffic,” Antony said while inaugurating the Unified Commanders Conference here.

He said a pre-condition for peace lies in Pakistan taking strong action against anti-India terrorist groups operating from its territory.

“We should not forget that the groups against whom Pakistan is taking action today, were earlier seen as assets by its establishment,” he said.

Speaking on relations with China, Antony said India has always tried to maintain friendly relations with Beijing.

�There is enough space for both India and China to grow into influential nations in the evolving international order. But there are complex unresolved issues between the two countries. India believes that these should be resolved through peaceful means,” the minister said.

On India’s other neighbours, Antony said ri Lanka needs to backup its military gains against the Tamil Tigers with a political devolution package that satisfies the aspiration of Tamils within a united Sri Lanka.

He said in Nepal, democratic forces need to work together to frame a new constitution that would underline the country’s emergence as a modern, prosperous and powerful nation.

Underlining the importance of the Indian Ocean Region, Antony said that with a rapidly growing economy, India’s dependence on the sea lanes was increasing by the day.

“It is imperative for our armed forces to ensure that the sea lanes of communication are not dominated by any one power to the exclusion of others,” adding that the sea lanes could easily become security threats.

“Last year, piracy emerged as a major challenge for sea-borne traffic off the coast of Somalia,” he pointed out.

“Sea routes could also be used to transport weapons of mass destruction and arms and ammunition by terrorists. They were commonly used for illegal migration and drug trafficking. Water-ways are used by terrorists to reach the hinterland, as was done by the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack,” Antony pointed out.