Washington, Feb 25 — Veteran Indian diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri advocates a “very forceful response” on the part of India to deal with “snakes and vipers” of terrorism coming from a particular snake pit in its neighbourhood.
“Why are we fighting shy?” wondered Puri, India’s permanent representative at the UN, who is set to bid farewell to the Indian Foreign Service Thursday after a 39-year distinguished career, including the last four years at the UN.
“I mean the US believes in counter-terrorism cooperation. But that does not preclude it in going and targeting individuals who constitute a threat to the US,” Puri told IANS in a farewell interview from New York.
“So my only issue is that the entire counter-terrorism cooperation in the UN and globally should not prevent us from safeguarding our interests.”
The Indian diplomat, who was elected chair of the UNSC counter-terrorism committee, said that during India’s two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council “we were able to get a zero tolerance provision into the lexicon.”
India was also “witness to the fact that many of the terrorist entities that were troubling us – the snakes and the vipers which come from the same snake pit in the region – have been proscribed under the UN,” he said without naming any country.
“Now the issue is we should be able to combine that along with what I call a very forceful response.”
On other issues confronting India, Puri said: “We clearly need to come to terms with our neighbourhood. Make no mistakes on that. Our relations with most of our neighbours are crying out for greater attention.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])