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Pakistan not serious about tackling terrorism: Govt the day after

India had persistently taken up with Pakistan the issue of cross-border terrorism, but Islamabad is yet to take any action against it.

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V Muraleedharan with his senior S jaishankar

New Delhi: A day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan admitted in the United States that his country still housed 30,000 to 40,000 terrorists who once operated in Afghanistan and Kashmir of India, the government said India had persistently taken up with Pakistan the issue of cross-border terrorism, including funding of secessionist and terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, but Islamabad is yet to take any action against it.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said Pakistan has been asked to abide by its commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner and take credible, verifiable and irreversible steps in the matter. Pakistan is yet to demonstrate such steps, he said. “The government has, through diplomatic channels, persistently taken up with Pakistan, the issue of cross-border terrorism, including the funding of secessionist and terrorist activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Muraleedharan said.

Khan, who was on a three-day official visit to the US, had admitted to American lawmakers that successive governments in Pakistan had not revealed the truth to the United States, in particular in the last 15 years. The “truth” he referred to was that there were 40 different groups of terrorists operating in his country.

”Until we came into power, the governments did not have the political will, because when you talk about terrorist groups, we still have about 30,000-40,000 armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir,” Khan had said during his appearance at the US Institute of Peace, a US-Congress funded think-tank, on Tuesday.

Today, to another question on relations with neighbouring countries, Union minister Muraleedharan said that with Pakistan, the government desires normal neighbourly relations and is committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally and peacefully in accordance with the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. “However, any meaningful dialogue can only be held in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence,” he said. The onus is on Islamabad to create such a conducive atmosphere, Muraleedharan said.

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