Chidambaram, Pak Envoy Indulge in Debate on Terror, Balochistan

In an unusual scenario, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Pakistani High Commissioner Shahid Malik were seen engaged in exchange of words with the minister blaming ISI for supporting terrorist outfits while the envoy countering it with charging India with involvement in Balochistan, media reports said.

During the question and answer session, Chidambaram expressed New Delhi’s concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, said report.

“It is no secret that every militant organisation in Pakistan is support by the ISI,” he was quoted as saying while naming of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and some other groups operating in that country.

Attempting to counter the charge, Malik raised the issued of alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan and also about activities of Indian consulate in Afghanistan, said report.

It may be mentioned that Islamabad alleges that the Indian consulates are stirring up trouble for Pakistan, a charge strongly denied by India.

“There are no state actors involved in any act detrimental to the interests of India,” Malik was quoted as saying.

The minister made it clear that he had hoped not to indulge into a public debate with the envoy who was only stating his government’s stand but wanted to put their assertion to test, said report.

Chidambaram said that Pakistan, in a neutral country to know whether they are state actors, should hand voice sample of the list suspects given by India to match them with the voice transcripts of the 26/11 handlers, report said.

In response to a query about how India will react in case another terror attack originates from Pakistani soil on lines of 26/11, he said that if it was established with a reasonable degree of certainty that the attacks originated from Pakistani soil, ‘then we will respond swiftly and decisively’,  he was quoted as saying.

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’, report said.

“We cannot change our neighbour,” he was quoted as saying adding that Pakistan has been a ‘very difficult neighbour from 1947’.

He also 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.

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