New Delhi, May 10: The latest authentication of Pakistan’s reluctance to rein in terrorists operating out of its territory has come from Russian ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin: around 40 terror camps are still active in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas and Islamabad is yet to dismantle them, reports The Times of India.
Kadakin, in his second stint as ambassador to India, told TOI in an exclusive interview that this information was based on Russian satellite imagery and intelligence.
“From the information we have, there are about 38 to 40 such terror camps. Earlier they would have these bright green boards declaring the name of the organization like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), they have now removed them. However, the camps still remain,’’ Kadakin said, adding Pakistan had not done enough to get rid of these camps.
Kadakin’s statement is extremely significant because it corroborates Indian intelligence reports that LeT has become more active in the region and is looking to target India’s interests in Afghanistan. On the developing situation in Afghanistan, Kadakin said Russia was “united 100% with India”.
“Moderate Taliban is an oxymoron. It’s like saying moderate fascist or moderate Nazi. Also, we believe there is greater role for India in Afghanistan as a peace factor than some other countries. Russia too has a greater role and we are ready to train their personnel, reconstruct Soviet-era factories and provide medical help,” said Kadakin, who described India as Russia’s greatest friend.
After his meeting with Russian PM Vladimir Putin in March, PM Manmohan Singh had said India and Russia had agreed to “intensify consultations” on Afghanistan.
Kadakin said Russia did not favour immediate withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan, an opinion that will come as music to Indian ears. “We are not for hastened withdrawal. In fact, if they withdraw immediately, there will be hell in Afghanistan. It is important that at least some semblance of order is maintained before it happens,” said Kadakin.
In the past, Russian authorities have said bringing in more troops in Afghanistan would worsen the situation and NATO should leave immediately after finishing its job.
According to Kadakin, India-Russia ties have actually become stronger than was the case in the Soviet era. “What we now have is more of pragmatic affection than romantic infatuation of the days of Hindi-Rusi bhai bhai,” he said, referring to growing defence and nuclear cooperation. Kadakin was Russia’s ambassador to India from 1999 to 2004 and was appointed ambassador again last year.