Brussels, Oct 4 — Maintaining that India wants peace with Pakistan, President Pranab Mukherjee has said no compromise could be made with the country’s territorial integrity and that state-sponsored terrorism from across the border has to end
In an interview to Euronews, the president, who is on a visit to Belgium, also dismissed Pakistan’s contention that “non-state actors” were behind the terror acts in India.
He said India wants good relations with its neighbours and has to accept the neighbour “the way he is”.
“He is my neighbour. Whether I like it or not does not matter. Therefore, it is for me to decide whether I live with my neighbour in tension or in peace. We opted for peace,” said Mukherjee, who has twice served as India’s external affairs minister.
“But one point is to be understood. No country can compromise its territorial integrity. That is not possible,” he stressed.
He said Pakistan should dismantle the terror infrastructure on its territory.
“Terrorist activities must be curbed. And state-sponsored terrorism can never be accepted. Therefore, repeatedly we are saying, please dismantle the terrorist outfits which are located in your area,” he said.
He also rebuffed Pakistan maintaining that it is not state-sponsored terrorism, saying the non-state actors don’t come from heaven.
“Non-state actors are not coming from heaven… Non-state actors are coming from territory under your control,” he said adding that in 2004 itself “Pakistan has agreed that its territories will not be allowed to be used by forces inimical to India”.
Mukherjee, who is on a four-day state visit to Belgium, said India has no territorial ambitions.
After the 1971 war, India entered into the Shimla Agreement with Pakistan according to which India ceded all the occupied territories captured by the Indian Army and returned 91,000 prisoners of war.
“This was just to show the goodwill that in our basic foreign policy we do not have any territorial ambition, we do not have any ambition to export our ideology to any country or we do not have any commercial interests,” Mukherjee said.
He also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his speech at the UN General Assembly has pointed out that “India is ready to cooperate with Pakistan for restoration of peace, normalcy, and solve all outstanding issues, including the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, through bilateral discussions.”
Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met on the sidelines of the UNGA on Sep 29 in New York for talks that had got stalled in the wake of increasing ceasefire violations on the Line of Control, including the Aug 6 killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops.