ISI supports LeT, other terror outfits in Pak: Chidambaram

ISI supports LeT, other terror outfits in Pak: Chidambaram

"If it is the state policy to sponsor terrorism, if the state policy is to export terrorism to India, how will we deal with that state?," he said at the India Today conclave here.

The Home Minister said, "it is no secret that every militant organisation that is based in Pakistan, is supported by ISI. Lashkar, Hizbul Mujahideen, JuD, Al Badr - everyone of them is supported by ISI".

Making it clear that war is not an option, the Minister said, "then we must talk, when we can, when we think there can be progress".

He said nothing came out of the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries here last month. "But I am told we are still open to another round of talks between the Foreign Secretaries," he said.

Chidambaram, who chose not to make any mention of Pakistan in his opening remarks, voiced New Delhi's concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism during the question and answer session.

He had an unusual exchange of words with Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik, who tried to counter the Minister's charge that state actors in Pakistan were involved in terror acts in India.

But, Chidambaram was quick to rubbish the claim saying this can be put to test if Pakistan gives voice samples of the list of suspects India has given to it.

These can be matched with the voice transcripts of 26/11 attackers and their handlers at a US laboratory. "Then we will know whether the person is a state or non-state actor," he said.

The Home Minister said this was one way to break the logjam. "For the sake of argument even if we accept that (there are no state actors), is it not the obligation of the state of Pakistan to control and eliminate the non-state actors who are fomenting terrorism" from its soil, he asked.

Describing Pakistan as a difficult neighbour from 1947 with "lucid intervals" he said, "we have a serious problem with Pakistan revolving around Kashmir. We acknowledge that."
Asked what would be India's response if there was a repeat of 26/11, Chidambaram said if it can be establish with a reasonable degree of certainty that it emanated from Pakistani soil, "then we will respond swiftly and decisively".

On whether this will be a military option, he said "you can comment on that after we respond swiftly and decisively".

"If it is a difficult neighbour that neighbour must invent itself and one way to re-invent it, if it can, we wish it can become a truly democratic country where the real power lies with the democratically elected leaders hands," he said.

Responding to a question from Kuwaiti Ambassador Sami Al-Suleiman, who objected to the term 'jehadi terrorism', Chidambaram said Hafiz Sayeed, the 26/11 mastermind, as also other LeT and JuD leaders have been repeatedly talking about 'jehad' to justify their acts of terror.

"I find that Hafiz Sayeed uses the word in every speech that he makes. He made three speeches last month. In every speech, he used the word jihad. He is still a free man in Pakistan despite the dossiers against him.

"I find the al Qaida leaders using the word jihad. I find LeT leaders using the word jihad. We have voice transcripts of attacks of Mumbai and their handlers using the word jihad. So, for the wrong reason perhaps and unfortunately when the terrorists use the word jihad, those who oppose terrorism are forced to use the word jihad," he said.

Malik said the Pakistan delegation had come to India in the hope that something positive will come out of it.

"We came here with an open mind. And we were told terrorism is one of the main items of the agenda of the meeting. As a matter of fact, we welcomed it immediately.

"And the reason for that is we have our own issues to be raised with India in the context of terrorism. Baluchistan, the activities of Indian consulate in Afghanistan etc, etc. So we had good discussions on that....so I think dialogue is the only answer," he said.

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