This Article is From May 28, 2011

Terror hurting Pak too, hope they realise and curb jihadis: PM

Terror hurting Pak too, hope they realise and curb jihadis: PM
On Board Air India 1: Sending a message to Pakistan in the wake of the Karachi attack, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said its leadership should realise that the terror machine there was "equally hurting" them and must take more effective action against jihadi groups targeting India.

He asserted that terrorism as an instrument of state policy of Pakistan was "simply not acceptable to people in the civilised world" and said India will use every possible opportunity to convince them about it.

"As Pakistan's neighbour, we have great worries about the terror machine that is still intact in Pakistan. We would like Pakistan to take much more effective action to curb the activities of those Jehadi groups which particularly target a country, like India," Dr Singh told reporters while returning from his six-day visit to Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Apparently referring to the recent terror attack on Pakistan navy airbase in Karachi, he said, "The more I see of what is happening in Pakistan the more I am convinced that Pakistan's leadership must now wake up, and must recognise that the terror machine they have or at least some elements in the country patronise, is working not to anybody's advantage."

On 26/11 attacks probe in Pakistan, he said, "We must convince Pakistan that it is in their own interest that they must help us in tackling the problem of terror in our region.

"That those Jihadi groups that target India, as a destination for their terror, they must be effectively curbed and dealt with. That is an ongoing process and at every opportunity that we have, we should continue to impress on Pakistan."

He hoped Pakistan would "recognise that this monster of terrorism which they unleashed at one time, is hurting them as much as it can hurt our country."

Asked about the deposition of David Headley implicating ISI in the Mumbai attacks, Dr Singh said, "it did not reveal anything new".

New Delhi for long has held that ISI has a direct role in the Mumbai attacks, a charge flatly denied by Pakistan.

"The trial of David Headley has not brought out anything new that we did not know. The trial is still on," the Prime Minister said in his first comments after Headley's ongoing deposition in the US court.

"We will study it, when the trial is completed. It does not reveal anything fresh that we did not know before," he said.

Dr Singh said there was also global concern about terrorism and the world has seen, as never before that the epicentre of terror is in India's neighbourhood.

He said countries appreciate India's point and "it should be our effort to mobilise world opinion to ensure that this terror machinery which operates in our neighbourhood in Pakistan is brought under effective control."

Asked about the recent terror strike in Mehran military base in Karachi, the Prime Minister said, "I have always maintained that a strong, stable and peaceful Pakistan is in the interest of our country. Therefore, the events do worry us," he said.

Pakistan, he said, needs to be convinced that it is in their own interest that they must help India in tackling terror in the region.

To another question, Dr Singh made it clear that a visit to Pakistan, which he has agreed in principle, is unlikely in the near future.

"I have not made up my mind on that," he said, adding, "I always believe that good relations between India and its neighbours are desirable and indeed essential for us in South Asia to realise our development ambition."

PM on cabinet reshuffle

The Prime Minister also kept the suspense alive on the much-awaited reshuffle of the Union Cabinet.

"When I go back home I will apply my mind," Dr Singh said when asked about the next Cabinet re-shuffle.

When pressed further, the Prime Minister said he would not like to discuss matters like Cabinet reshuffle at a press conference.

"As far as Cabinet reshuffle is concerned, I don't like to discuss this matter in a press conference," he said.

After a minor re-shuffle of the Union Cabinet in January, the Prime Minister had said he would carry out a "more expansive exercise" after the Budget Session of Parliament.

In the January reshuffle, Dr Singh did not drop any of the ministers but changed portfolios of several of them in order to give a fresh look to his government facing a series of scams. 

PM on land acquisition

Faced by farmer protests in Uttar Pradesh and other areas on the issue of land acquisition, Dr Singh said there was need for thinking afresh on the "very sensitive" matter and promised to bring in the monsoon session of Parliament a legislation that will protect their interests.

"On land acquisition, we need to think afresh. We have a Bill that has been on the table for quite some time and we are committed to bring this Bill for approval by Parliament in the next monsoon session," he told reporters.

"I do recognise that land acquisition has become a very sensitive issue and acquisition of prime land arouses valid concerns," he said.

The Prime Minister was asked about protests by farmers in Greater Noida and how government proposed to deal with the issue.

He said the issue relating to farmers has been sensitive and will remain so and "we have to take care of it". At the same time, he appealed to political parties not to politicise the issue.

"I think industrialisation is essential for the country to solve the problem of unemployment and problem of poverty. That process has to be equitable. One way to ensure this is that land possession does not become an instrument of depriving our farmers, their livelihood," he said.