Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has slammed Pakistan for using terrorism as a state policy towards India rather than peacefully settling disputes through dialogue.
Addressing the 12th South Asia conference, Singh said we have made it clear that talks and terror cannot go together and Pakistan must take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks on India.
“It is important that we unite in our efforts to defeat terrorism. It is essential that terrorists and their ideological and financial networks are cut off and that they do not receive state support. With the exception of Pakistan, our region has adhered to these principles,” the Indian defence minister said.
Singh added that India was playing a vital role on connectivity in the South Asian Region and the full potential of SAARC could not be realised due to the behaviour and policies of Pakistan.
South Asia is at a critical juncture of history. We should not hold regional prosperity hostage to the interests of states who are obstructing all efforts aimed at regional cooperation. Our intra-regional trade has been abysmally low. We have to transcend these limitations: RM— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) January 28, 2020
“India has always made efforts to share its prosperity with its neighbourhood. The true pathway to regional peace, security and prosperity lies in understanding each other’s sensitivities and in following basic policies of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,” Singh said.
According to Singh, India has committed about $13.14 billion in credit-lines and about $4 billion in assistance to the region over the last decade.
In the last four years, SAARC has not held any formal meetings due to tensions between India and Pakistan.
Singh said that India was fully capable of giving a firm response to cross-border terrorism.