Anything on the PM’s visit to New York?
Nirupama Rao: He is going next week. We have a background briefing tomorrow on the Prime Minister’s visit.
Going back to the Union Carbide issue why hasn’t India asked for the extradition?
Nirupama Rao: Well, I can come back to you with the concrete details on that. But my understanding is that the process was being taken up through the Court and the Courts were considering this case and you know there has been a judgement last week in this matter also. But I would like to reiterate any time lapse not withstanding, the Government has decided on pursuing the request for extradition as and when all the evidentiary material linking Mr. Anderson and this case are put together. So that’s the Government’s approach.
But was there any kind pressure from any quarter on India to lower…
Nirupama Rao: I am not aware of any pressure. But as I said the earlier move on the part of the government as far as taking it up with the Court was concerned was to see whether the request for extradition could be moved under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code and that has not been agreed to by the Hon’ble Court and the Court has said that it should be processed under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code. The government has seen the decision of the Court and we are studying this matter further and we will take whatever action is necessary and in line with the legal requirements.
What is the difference between Section 304 and 304A?
Nirupama Rao: First of all let me say that the government is committed to pursue of the request for the extradition of Mr. Warren Anderson and the concerned agencies have been asked to do everything possible to strengthen the evidentiary links between Mr. Warren Anderson and the gas leak tragedy in Bhopal so that the extradition request is successful. Now earlier the applicability of Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code which is offence of causing death by rash or negligent act was confirmed by the Attorney General in his opinion and this particular Section 304A is also an extraditable offence under the provisions of the Extradition Treaty between India and the United States. So we had sought consent of the Court to move the extradition request under Section 304A but the Court has disagreed with that and has said that it should be under Section 304. Unfortunately I do not have the copy of the Penal Code to read out that particular Section. That I will let you know. So we will proceed further in this matter after studying the full implications of the Court’s judgement and take necessary steps.
There was a news report that the 3rd batch of 55 terrorists who fought with the Taliban has been sent back to Pakistan. How do we see this development? Do you see any kind of softening in the stand on terrorism or a compromise between Pakistan and Karzai?
Nirupama Rao: I don’t want to comment on the relations between third countries really. In this case Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s not for me to comment on the state of those relations. So I will not be drawn into discussions on that. We have seen the reports of the repatriation or the release of these prisoners. Obviously these were Pakistani nationals who were complicit or who were involved in support for the Taliban or fighting in support of the Taliban regime or one can even extend that further, in support for certain terrorist individuals who were based in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. Obviously these persons have been detained because they were involved with the activities of the Taliban regime. Now whether they have been freed of that charge or released from that involvement or suspicion of involvement I cannot say. Obviously this has to be investigated further but I will not like to comment further on this. Obviously Pakistan’s support for the Taliban regime was very well known. It’s a universally documented fact. Post September 11 Pakistan chose to transform its stance on this matter for whatever reason. But still history is not easily forgotten.
How does the Government of India react to this? Are we protesting their release.
Nirupama Rao: No, I am for sure if diplomacy works in the very simple manner which you have reduced it to. Its not that way. We are obviously concerned about the fact that terrorism is not being eliminated from our region and that by all accounts Al-Qaida continues to operate between the border lines of Afghanistan and Pakistan and even in Pakistan. So these are matters of concern for us. These are issues in the war against terrorism, these are subjects for discussion between India and its friends and its allies in the fight against terrorism. I would not like to go beyond that.
On the lifting of the ban on LTTE by Sri Lanka?
Nirupama Rao: Well we have taken note of it and you are all aware of our three fold commitment to the unity, territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and to the restoration of lasting peace in that country based on the just aspirations of all elements in the Sri Lankan society and we have supported that peace process. If you are asking whether this will affect our stand on the LTTE, the plain and simple answer is no. The LTTE continues to be proscribed in this country as a terrorist organisation and in fact our stand on the LTTE predates the ban of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan Government.
Will India focus on the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 ..
Nirupama Rao: Obviously our concerns regarding the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1373 would naturally be focussed on. As you know this is the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack. I think the concern of all leaders present at New York at this juncture would be not only on the steps taken so far but to consider what needs to be further done to strengthen the implementation of UN Security Resolution 1373, to look at the manner in which countries have taken action to implement the various provisions of that Resolution and to engage with each other, discuss with each other, how best we can strengthen our collective efforts to fight terrorism, whether it is action against the funding of terrorism, whether it is action against terrorist forces, there are various facets to this campaign against terrorism and the United Nations has been closely involved, all member countries of the United Nations has been working together. You are aware that India has been spearheading, in a sense the world community action terrorism, in terms of the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism and to see that action is taken to implement the various resolutions of the UN on the subject and also the various conventions that have been agreed to by the United Nations on fighting against terrorism .
This is the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. There are also concerns relating to development, relating to poverty alleviation, the situation in various parts of the world. I mean this is a forum in which various member countries have engaged in order to promote a greater degree of understanding , higher transparency and democratic discussion, debate among member countries.
What is India’s Stand on Iraq?
Nirupama Rao: I have already spoken about this in my briefing of August 4, 2002.
What is India’s reaction to President Musharrf’s accusation regarding RAW involvement in attacks in Pakistan?
Nirupama Rao: It’s a complete untruth which seems to have been fabricated in order to divert attention from the truth of what has now been clearly established and universally acknowledged of Pakistan’s sponsorship of cross border terrorism directed against India. We believe that instead of producing such red herrings Pakistan should take immediate, tangible steps to end its support to cross border terrorism and also to fulfill the pledges that it has made to the international community in this regard.
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