New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that terror in India was not home-grown but sponsored by the neighbouring country. He rejected Pakistan’s contention that non-state actors were behind the terrorism.
The Home Minister said: “I want to ask Pakistan: ‘Is ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) also a non-state actor’.”
He linked the ISI with supporting terrorists – ranging from Osama bin Laden to Hafiz Saeed and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
“Who helped Osama bin Laden? Who is helping Hafiz Saeed? We have requested Pakistan to act against them (Mumbai attack mastermind) but they drag their feet,” he said, adding: “So we say that terrorism is completely Pakistan-sponsored.”
He also said terrorism in India was being externally aided by Pakistan.
Ahead of next week’s SAARC summit, Rajnath Singh, however, said that India was open to talks with Pakistan but Islamabad should take the first step to resume dialogue.
“If not today then tomorrow, one side will have to take the first step. We have always spoken of friendship but they should take some friendly action,” Rajnath Singh said at a leading daily’s summit on Saturday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif would be attending the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu.
On the firing along the border region, Rajnath Singh said India’s “tough stance” had paid dividends.
When Pakistan did not stop ceasefire violations despite the Border Security Force showing the white flag 16 times, the forces were told to hit back hard.
He said: “As you saw, Pakistan had to go to the UN to say that you intervene, you intervene. In other words, it raised a hue and cry.”
Talking about insurgency in north east, Rajnath Singh said the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), an insurgent group in Meghalaya, has agreed to give up arms.
He further said: “There are numerous insurgent groups in the northeast whom the government has encouraged to lay down their weapons, and there is an integrated action plan to deal with the threat of Maoism.”
He said India was building roads and developing infrastructure along the border despite stiff objections from China and Pakistan.
With many parts of the country’s borders still porous, India was trying to make greater use of technology to ensure security along its borders, he said.
Singh identified Maoist violence as a big problem area, saying Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were the worst affected.
“It also exists in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and parts of Uttar Pradesh… A policy paper and action plan are on the way.”
He added, “We are not focusing on killing Maoists, but will develop affected areas. We believe that development in Maoist-affected areas should be faster.”
(With Agency Inputs)