Pranab defends foreign policy,says attack no option

Citing Islamabad’s admission that “a part of the Mumbai conspiracy” was planned in Pakistan as a success of Indian diplomacy...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 19, 2009 2:51 am

Citing Islamabad’s admission that “a part of the Mumbai conspiracy” was planned in Pakistan as a success of Indian diplomacy,External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday ruled out military “retaliation” against India’s western neighbour — especially given the “complex situation” in that country.

“It is a tendency to react instantly sometimes in our anxiety. Why we cannot retaliate? It is asked. We are opposed to do that,” Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha in his response to the motion of thanks on the President’s speech. “We cannot imitate certain other countries and retaliate.”

“Sometimes questions have been raised about how much time can we give to Pakistan. They (Pakistan) had admitted the involvement of elements from their country behind the terror attacks. Our diplomacy has not failed. We did not mobilise a single soldier,we did not press the panic button,but told them to fulfill its commitment in my November 28 telephonic conversation with the Pakistani foreign minister. They informed us in February admitting the involvement of elements in their country,” Mukherjee said.

India,Mukherjee said,had no intention of rubbing Pakistan the wrong way in the diplomatic process.

“That doesn’t mean to rub them (Pakistan) on the wrong side. We know the complexity of our neighbour. Every one knows that Pakistan situation is complex situation. Our leader of opposition (L K Advani) knows it very well.”

Mukherjee,however,reiterated that “unless the perpetrators of these terror attacks are brought to justice,the infrastructure available to these terrorists is dismantled,in a manner which is credible to us and the international community we will continue to demand with the Pakistan government to do so. It is the duty of the incumbent government of Pakistan to respond to it.”

In the context of Mumbai terror attacks,Mukherjee rejected Advani’s doubts over the efficacy of the anti-terror laws adopted by Parliament in the last session saying that its was too early to pass a judgment on the efficacy of those laws.

In the Rajya Sabha,the Minister said it could not be business as usual with Pakistan just as yet. “I have no quarrel with the people of Pakistan and deliberately¿ but it can’t be business as usual unless those involved in the Mumbai attacks are brought to book,” he said.

Mukherjee’s statements defending the UPA Government’s foreign policy came a day after the Opposition termed it passive.

Mukherjee India had an independent foreign policy,refuting the Left’s allegations that the UPA’s foreign policy was pro-US. “For me foreign policy is promotion of national interest in the external environment,” he said,responding to Left leader Sitaram Yechuri’s comments during the debate in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Mukherjee also said that while questions have been raised on the government not condemning the Gaza attacks enough,no one could say that his government had distanced itself from the legitimate demand of the Palestinians for a homeland.

“If someone wants to dictate what phrases,nuances and language the government should be using,that is not correct,” Mukherjee said,pointing out that he had also kept relations with Iran,visiting that country thrice in two years.

“Our foreign policy is self-dependent and sovereign. As the Prime Minister pointed out,none can dictate our foreign policy,” Mukherjee told the House.

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