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Action, commitment needed from Pakistan: PM

By Archana Masih on board AI001
Last updated on: July 16, 2006 18:38 IST
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"There has to be firm commitment that Pakistan's territory will not be used to promote acts of terrorism against India, and that commitment has to be backed by action on the ground," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media aboard AI 001, the Air India flight taking him to the G8 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, Dr Singh said he has not spoken to President Pervez Musharraf since Tuesday's blasts in Mumbai, but links have been established at every level.

"India and Pakistan have to establish new pathways to establish friendly relations," Dr Singh said. "Both countries need peace, stability and need to be free of terror to realise their potential."

All this cannot move forward, the prime minister declared, if terror, aided and abetted by outside, continued to take the lives of innocent citizens as it did in Mumbai and Jammu and Kashmir last week. "Both India and Pakistan have an obligation to work together, but in a democracy, there is a limitation on what a leadership can do if the terrorists are having a free time," he said.

"President Musharraf is the president of Pakistan and we have to deal with people in government. In all these matters, it is a learning process and I would not like to use harsh words," Dr Singh added.

"Therefore, it is the solemn obligation of Pakistan to honour the commitment it made in January 2004 that Pakistani territory would not be used for aiding and abetting terrorism in India," he said.

"The terror acts in Mumbai were on a massive scale, and could not have been accomplished without external involvement," Dr Singh pointed out.

Asked whether POTA needed to be reinstated to deal with terrorism, the prime minister said terrorism occurred even when the Act was around, citing the instances of the attack on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat in September 2002. What India needed to do is upgrade its intelligence gathering, improve its ability to handle terror acts and improve its disaster management, he said, adding, "We need to strengthen our resolve to fight terror."

Dr Singh said he had requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the state government to ensure that every family affected by Tuesday's terrorism gets what it needs to enable them to restart life. The Centre and state government would work hand in hand on this, he added.

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Archana Masih on board AI001