16 Feb : Underlining the grave danger to the world posed by terror emanating from Pakistan, India impressed upon the United States to do more to end the threat as special envoy Richard Holbrooke held talks with leaders in New Delhi.
On his first visit in New Delhi on Monday to consult India on the situation in the region, the envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.
The two sides held detailed discussions on the problem of terrorism afflicting the region, sources said.The Indian side is understood to have told Holbrooke that terrorism operating out of Pakistan is posing a threat, not only to the region, but to the entire world.New Delhi underlined the need for the United States and rest of the international community to realise this and take more steps to eradicate the threat, they said.
After the talks, Holbrooke told reporters that Taliban operating out of Pakistan is a "common" threat to India and America, besides the host country."For the first time in 60 years, your country, Pakistan and the US all face an enemy that poses direct threats to our leaderships, our capitals and our people," said Holbrooke who was in New Delhi to "listen" to India’s assessment of the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Holbrooke, who does not have India on his mandate, made it clear that he "carried no messages or guidance" but "just wanted to hear the views of India to a wide range of issues".
The envoy, whose visit New Delhi came in the backdrop of Islamabad virtually surrendering to Taliban through a peace deal in Swat, said the developments in the tribal region of Pakistan posed a common threat to India, the US and the host country.
"I do want to underscore the fact that what happened in Swat demonstrates a key point and that is that India, US and Pakistan all have a common threat now," he said.
Swat, located just 160 km from Islamabad, is virtually being run by the Taliban who have given a tough time to Pakistani military and kidnapped several people, including foreigners for release of their cadre.
Pakistani military has resorted to all kinds of force, including artillery and helicopter gunships, against the Taliban entrenched in the tribal areas but without much success.
Though the NWFP government and the local Taliban signed a peace deal last May, it collapsed within months.
Security experts believe the peace pact was used by the militants to regroup.
Speaking about his visit to Pakistan last week, Holbrooke said, "When I was in the tribal areas and, I did not go to Swat but I was in Peshawar, I talked to people from Swat… they were frankly quite terrified."
He said Swat has "really, deeply affected the people of Pakistan not just in Peshawar, but in Lahore and in Islamabad".
On the 10-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban in Swat to facilitate implementation of Islamic Shariah laws there, Holbrooke said he did not have much information about it and would be talking to the US Ambassador in Islamabad regarding this.
He said he had "reported" to Indian government on his trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan and exchanged views.