Pranab: No provocative action by india
New Delhi December 31:
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee rejected claims made by Pakistan earlier in the day that India had moved its troops closer to the border and activated the forward air bases.
Instead, Pakistan would do well to honour the commitments made by its then and present head of state in 2004 and again this year, he said. In an interaction with newspersons, Mr. Mukherjee made it clear that no provocative action was taken by the Indian armed forces and any movement on the ground was part of the Army’s normal schedule of exercises and repositioning in the winters.
“We have not created any tension. First, there should be escalation from our side, and then the question of de-escalation will come. We have not escalated anything,” he said. “There is no need for creating an atmosphere of some sort of hysteria,” Mr. Mukherjee said. He pointed out there was no such attempt from the Indian side as was borne out by the fact that New Delhi was releasing several Pakistanis detained for visa violation. Also, it would go ahead with the routine renewal of nuclear-related confidence building measures on January 1.
India was also not rethinking of altering the most favoured nation (MFN) status for Pakistan in bilateral trade. “There is no question of withdrawing it despite provocations,” he said. Instead of raising the bogey of plans of military aggression by India, Pakistan would do well to dismantle the terror infrastructure of about 30 camps, hand over fugitives such as Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim to India and concretely investigate the involvement of its nationals in terrorist activity against India, including the attack on its embassy in Kabul.
“Please fulfil your commitments and do the job you are expected to do. You have not committed not once but twice about stopping terrorism from Pakistani soil,” he said. He pointed out that India had provided evidence of Pakistani involvement in several terror attacks in the past and was committed to sharing the results of the investigations of the Mumbai terror carnage once the probe was completed.
“We are only asking that you fulfil these commitments you have made. Kindly dismantle the infrastructural facilities, dismantle the camps... up to now we have not seen any such thing,” he added. While it would not be “business as usual” with Pakistan because of its reluctance to crack down on puppeteers of terrorist attacks, he ruled out actions such as recalling the Indian High Commissioner or curbing trade.