New Delhi: Expressing “serious concern” over Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar‘s recent remarks that “terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists,” Islamabad has said “this confirms Pakistan’s apprehensions about India’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan.”
In a statement posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Saturday, Sartaj Aziz, who is Prime Minister Nawaz Shari’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs and de facto foreign minister, said: “It must be the first time that a minister of an elected government openly advocates use of terrorism in another country on the pretext of preventing terrorism from that country or its non-state actors.”
Pakistan, said Aziz, sincerely pursues a policy of good neighbourly relations with India, adding, “Terrorism is our common enemy and it is vital for the two countries to work together to defeat this menace, from which Pakistan has suffered much more than almost any other country.”
On Thursday, asserting that terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists, Mr Parrikar had said India will take “pro-active” steps to prevent a 26/11 type attacks hatched from a foreign soil.
“There are certain things that I obviously cannot discuss here. But if there is any country, why only Pakistan, planning something against my country, we will definitely take some pro-active steps,” Mr Parrikar had said.
The minister used the Hindi phrase “kante se kanta nikalna” (removing a thorn with a thorn) wondered why Indian soldiers should be used to neutralise terrorists.
In recent statements, senior Pakistani officials including army chief General Raheel Sharif and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry have accused India’s external intelligence agency RAW of fanning militancy in Pakistan, a charge India denies.
On Friday, India’s National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, sought to play down Parrikar’s terror-for-terror remark, describing it as a “general statement”. “Interpreting ‘kante se kaanta nikalna’ as [doing] covert operations… that is not necessarily the correct interpretation. It is a question of balancing the response to the threat. That is, your response capability and response plans must be compatible with the quantum and gravity of the threat so as to build up a deterrent,” Doval replied when asked about Parrikar’s comments.
(with inputs from PTI)