April 22, 2011 12:10:26 pm
The perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks must be brought to justice if talks between India and Pakistan — resumed “despite the pressure of terrorism” emanating from the neighbouring country — have to be productive,a top Indian diplomat said today.
India is desirous of building a “future with Pakistan defined by the power of cooperation rather than the perils of conflict that leads us to hope for a stable,moderate and prosperous Pakistan,” Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar said.
Speaking to students at the Harvard Kennedy School here,Shankar said India has “repeatedly extended the hand of friendship (to Pakistan),despite the pressure of terrorism emanating from Pakistan — as investigations after the Mumbai terrorist attacks and revelations of US national David Headley have shown”.
While India has resumed talks with Pakistan,with the two countries even engaging in cricket diplomacy during the World Cup,Shankar said: “For the resumed dialogue to be productive,our concerns on terrorism must be addressed and all those responsible for the Mumbai attack brought to book.”
Shankar said the surge of violent extremism in India’s neighbourhood is affecting the entire world.
“There are countries in uncertain political transitions. And the arc of clandestine proliferation that extends from East Asia to West Asia runs through our neighbourhood.”
In this context,Shankar said success in helping Afghans build a stable and sovereign country,”free from extremist pressure,” is important not just for the Afghans or south Asia but equally for “our collective future.”
India does not see Afghanistan as a theatre of regional competition,she said,adding that it as a potential hub of energy,trade and transit linking central Asia and south Asia.
“In Afghanistan we are engaged in development activities,we are not engaged in any security role. Pakistan also has to overcome the imagined paranoia about what India is doing in Afghanistan.”
New Delhi is also discussing with Washington the possibility of pursuing joint development projects with the Afghan government in capacity building,agriculture and women’s empowerment,the envoy added.
Referring to India’s relations with China,Shankar said political representatives on both sides are engaged in trying to find a way forward on the “unresolved border dispute”.
While the two countries may not have made the kind of progress they would have hoped for in resolving the border dispute,”we have sought to maintain tranquility on our borders,striven to resolve disputes through dialogue,improve mutual trust and confidence and expand our economic and political engagement”.
“Our relationship with China is not only important for the two countries but its course will have a strong bearing on the future of the region. Together the two countries can power Asian and global prosperity,” she added.
Referring to the revitalised growth in India’s relations with countries in West Asia,Shankar said India is conscious of the need to objectively address Iran’s nuclear issue.
“We have maintained that Iran should fulfill its obligations as a signatory to the NPT regime,while having the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”
As the centre of gravity of global opportunities shifts “rapidly” to the Asia-Pacific region,the US has a role and stake in the future of Asia,Shankar said,adding that an important aspect of the Indo-US “transformed relationship” is the increasingly global nature of partnership between the two countries.
India and the US will soon be launching a new Homeland Security dialogue to further strengthen operational cooperation,counter-terrorism technology transfers and capacity building.
Non-proliferation and disarmament,which were marked by sharp differences in the past,are emerging as another area of cooperation between the two countries,Shankar said.
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