NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday reiterated government's stand that with Pakistan 'talks and terror cannot go together'. Rajnath Singh asked Pakistan to take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks on India from its soil.
Rajnath Singh while addressing the 12th South Asia Conference on 'India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy: Regional Perceptions' said, 'With the exception of Pakistan, the SAARC countries have adhered to the principles of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and not supporting cross-border terrorism.'
Pointing to SAARC unable to realise its full potential Rajanth Singh did not take name of Pakistan but said, 'Full potential of SAARC has not been realized due to the behaviour and policies of a single country.' Adding further he said, use of terror as an instrument of its foreign and security policy has promoted radicalism and terrorism in the region and posed critical challenges to security of all states.
Rajnath Singh quoted the example of the Easter Bomb attacks in Sri Lanka in April 2019 as the latest instance of how dangerous such a policy has been for the region and beyond. 'Terror attacks in Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama in India were grim reminders of state-sponsored terrorism by a neighbouring country.' he stressed.
Quoting Indian response to terror attacks Rajnath Singh said India is fully capable of giving a firm response to cross-border terrorism, and strikes against terrorist attacks in 2016 and 2019 have demonstrated the nation's firm resolve to defeat terrorism.
Explaining the essential contours of the Government's Neighbourhood First Policy (NFP), Minister said that the Government has recognised the neighbourhood as the most important foreign policy priority. Defence Minister informed that the Government has committed about 13.14 billion US dollars in credit-lines and about 4 billion US dollars in assistance in the neighbourhood over the last decade.
Talking about the conference Defence Minister said that such events by the civil society can influence governments through their proactive efforts and added that regional civil society of South Asia has a duty to encourage efforts like this.
The South Asia Conference is flagship programme of India’s premier think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and is being organized since 2007 in New Delhi.