Pranab rebuffs Pak, says India did not escalate tension

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 31 2008, 07:16am hrs
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee hit out at Pakistan on Tuesday, saying India had not escalated tension so there was no question of it de-escalating it.

While rejecting Islamabads contention that India had mobilised its Army and Air Force, Mukherjee said there was no question of such mobilisation. It is only the normal winter exercises conducted that takes place every year.

Commenting on Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshis statement in a televised address this morning asking India to de-escalate tension along the borders, the minister said, We did not escalate tension. We have not done anything to escalate tension. So where is the question of de-escalating it

From day one, I have been saying that it is not an India-Pakistan issue. This is an attack perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan and the Pakistan government should take action against it, he added.

According to Mukherjee Pakistan has continued to be in denial mode and as of now India has not seen any action on its part on its demands. If simply they deny and go into denial mode how does it help, he asked. He said India has provided sufficient evidence to Pakistan and now it was Pakistans turn to take action on the basis of these evidence.

Telling Pakistan that there is no need of creating an atmosphere or some sort of hysteria, the minister said there was no tension as was borne by the fact that India was releasing some 67 Pakistanis detained for visa violations.Also, like in the past, both countries will be exchanging information on nuclear confidence building measures on the New Years Day.

The minister was clear about what India wants from Pakistandismantling of terrorist camps, taking action against those involved in terror attacks and handing over of fugitives like the chief of the banned Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) Masood Azhar, and referred to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), front organisation of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He said Pakistan should act against them in a convincing way.

India was now in the final stages of completing its investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks. The information would be shared with Pakistan and others, Mukherjee said. Pakistan, he emphasised, will have to act on evidence India gives to it. And there has to be credible evidence that they are acting on it.

While maintaining his stand that India was keeping all options open, he recalled that he had stated in Parliament that war was not a solution. India would continue to put pressure on Pakistan through diplomacy and we would like to see what is the final outcome of it.