| Yashwant Sinha. Pix by Rajesh Kumar
New Delhi, Nov. 21: External affairs minister Yashwant Sinha today said India is determined to take all steps to fight cross-border terrorism, a war the country would have to wage on its own.
“India has not demanded a commitment from the international community to put pressure on Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism because India is competent enough to deal with the problem on its own. We are not dependent on the international community,” he stressed while replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
Operation Parakram, which involved massing of troops on the border after the December 13 attack on Parliament last year by Pakistani militants, had helped India make the point to Pakistan and the international community that it would combat cross-border militancy and “will be prepared to take any step” in this regard, the minister told the House.
Sinha also informed the members that while infiltration had not gone down drastically, it would not be right to say it had increased.
The minister said Pakistan-sponsored cross-border militancy is a problem that has plagued India for two decades and described the war as an “aar paar ki ladayee” that would not end in a day.
The war involved several aspects and the government, he said, had achieved success on some fronts. But there would be no let up in its endeavour.
New Delhi has made it clear to the international community, including the US, that it must exert greater pressure on Islamabad and examine what additional steps could be taken to ensure that the “commitment” it received from President Pervez Musharraf to end cross-border militancy was fulfilled, Sinha said.
“A number of steps are available to put pressure on Pakistan, but other countries can only go to a certain extent and not further,” explained the minister.
Sinha said US officials have, on a number of occasions recently, expressed concern over the trend in cross-border infiltration from Pakistan. Statements from the European Union, G-8 countries, the US and the UK have “clearly revealed that cross-border terrorism was taking place at the behest of Pakistan”, he asserted.
The minister added that Pakistan was asked to desist from it and this happened only because of India’s diplomatic initiative.
In reply to a question from nominated member Kuldeep Nayyar on whether the Prime Minister had spoken of “discordant” voices from the international community on cross-border terrorism, Sinha said: “Yes, the Prime Minister had said it. But terrorists who come to India can also go to Bali.”
“Therefore, they (the international community) should not make distinctions between terrorists. A terrorist is a terrorist and that is what India is trying to emphasise. We will strive to ensure that this contradiction is eliminated,” he said.
Sinha congratulated the voters of Kashmir for their “courage and commitment to democracy”, which was manifest in the recent Assembly elections.