India to Pak: Give voice samples of 26/11 suspects to neutral country

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New Delhi:  Home Minister P Chidambaram and Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik were engaged in an unusual exchange of words on Friday with the minister stating that all militant outfits across the border are supported by ISI and the envoy rebutting any involvement of state actors in terror acts against India.

Chidambaram, who chose not to make any mention of Pakistan in his opening remarks at the India Today conclave here, voiced New Delhi's concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism during the question and answer session.

"It is no secret that every militant organisation in Pakistan is support by the ISI," he said while taking the names of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and some other groups operating in that country.

In a bid to counter the charge, the Pakistan envoy raised the issue of alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan and about the activities of Indian consulates in Afghanistan.

Islamabad has alleged that the Indian consulates were stirring up trouble for Pakistan, a charge denied by India.

"There are no state actors involved in any act detrimental to the interests of India," he said.

Chidambaram said he had hoped not to enter into a public debate with the envoy who was only stating his government's position but wanted to put their assertion to test.

He said Pakistan should give voice samples of the list suspects given by India to match them with the voice transcripts of the 26/11 handlers in a neutral country to know whether they are state actors.

Chidambaram was asked how India would respond if there was another terror attack on the lines of 26/11.

He said if it was established with a reasonable degree of certainty that the attacks originated from Pakistani soil, "then we will respond swiftly and decisively".

The Minister made it clear that "war is not an option" so the two countries, both nuclear powers,  "must talk when we can" and, at other times, " we have to be vigilant".

"We cannot change our neighbour", he said adding Pakistan has been a "very difficult neighbour from 1947".

He indicated that there may be another around of talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir. There is speculation that this may take place later this month.

Malik contended that it was Rao who had telephone the Pakistan Foreign Secretary for talks. "We hoped something positive will come out of it and we welcomed the opportunity".

India said terrorism will be one of the main agenda and the Pakistani side said it too had its own concerns and willing to discuss it.

"We repeatedly asked India to share with us real time information on terrorism," he said in an apparent reference to Pakistan's claim that the 10 dossiers provided by India contained only "literature" and nothing concrete for them to act upon.

Responding to a questioner who objected to the term 'jehadi terrorism', Chidambaram said Hafiz Sayeed, the 26/11 mastermind as also LeT and JuD leaders have been repeatedly talking about 'jehad' to justify their acts of terror.


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