India virtually rejected a Pakistan suggestion for extradition of Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Shrikant Purohit,saying it was “an internal matter” and that Islamabad should not be concerned over it.
“The case (Malegaon blast) is under examination by the Anti-Terror Squad (of Maharashtra Police). It is our internal matter. We are investigating it. How can Pakistan be concerned with that?” Defence Minister A K Antony asked while talking to reporters here on the sidelines of an NCC function.
“Our agencies are inquiring about that. Let us wait for the final results. It (investigation) is our responsibility and we are doing it,” Antony said in reply to queries on a Pakistani suggestion that it may demand Purohit’s extradition in connection with the Samjhauta Express blast case.
Describing as “baseless” reports of the army not being prepared for a war in the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage,Antony said: “Our armed forces are in a state of preparedness. They are prepared for meeting any challenge,any eventuality and any threat from any quarter.”
He said there were reports of Pakistan military build-up across the border,but they were not something which could create “panic”.
“At the moment,the government (of India) is concentrating on diplomatic efforts. There is no question of our armed forces lowering their guard,” he said.
On Pakistan-based terror groups laying conditions such as resolution of the Kashmir issue for them to shun violence against India,Antony said: “This (terrorism) has nothing to do with Kashmir,which is an integral part of India. We will not entertain any kind of interference from any source and any quarter regarding Kashmir.”
Asked if the US operation against Taliban in Afghanistan forced New Delhi to give up military option against Pakistan,the Defence Minister said Indian decisions were not influenced by any other nation,even if they were friendly.
“India takes its own decisions and after carefully assessing the situation. We are friendly with all countries,but our decision cannot be influenced by anybody,” he said.
Rejecting suggestions of sending armed forces to Afghanistan to put pressure on Pakistan from all sides,Antony said: “There is no question of sending military to Afghanistan. Our assistance to Afghanistan is in the form of humanitarian assistance,rehabilitation and reconstruction.”