India rules out early talks with Pak

Security Issues: Defence Ministry cross-checking Harpoon missile report

New Delhi has already been irked over Islamabad’s dilly-dallying over the trial of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and the lack of sincerity to act against the anti-India terrorist outfits.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is unlikely to travel to Islamabad soon to meet her Pakistani counterpart. Highly-placed sources on Monday said talks with Pakistan would be meaningless unless New Delhi got proof of Islamabad’s action to bring to justice all the masterminds and perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and a crackdown on Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist outfits.

“We feel that concerted action should be taken by Pakistan against Saeed, who is well known as the chief of the LeT – the organisation which even the Pakistani government has identified as the one responsible for the Mumbai attack,” a top government official said.

New Delhi claims that Islamabad has been provided with enough evidence to nail Saeed, the chief of the LeT’s front Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD). Sources said that New Delhi had not noticed any significant progress in Islamabad’s much-promised actions on terrorist outfits targeting India.  

New Delhi is also concerned over reports that Pakistan has modified Harpoon anti-ship missiles provided by the US to turn them into a potent threat to land-based targets in India.

Sources said the Ministry of Defence was cross-checking the veracity of the report and would get in touch with its counterpart in the US. New Delhi will take up the issue with Washington and will seek stricter mechanism to monitor end-use of the US weapons and technology provided to Pakistan. Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who retired as the chief of the Indian Navy on Monday, said  the reports on modification of US-made Harpoon missiles by Pakistan had vindicated India’s fears over possibility of proliferation of sensitive defence technology by its western neighbour.

“This shows the danger of proliferation and we have been telling this from time to time,” Admiral Mehta told journalists after handing over the baton to his successor Admiral Nirmal Verma here. “This has nothing to do with Pakistan’s self-defence and it is against the Indian interest,” he added.

Pakistan recently invited Rao to travel to Islamabad to talk with her counterpart Salman Bashir. New Delhi is yet to respond to the invitation.

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