Cameron angers Pakistan with terror comments

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David Cameron angered Pakistan today after warning that it should not be allowed "to promote the export of terror" in the world.

Speaking in India, the Prime Minister appeared to step up rhetoric against Pakistan over accusations that it supports terrorist groups.

"We should be very, very clear with Pakistan that we want to see a strong, stable and democratic Pakistan," he said during a question and answer session in Bangalore.

"But we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world.

"That is why this relationship is important. It should be a relationship based on a very clear message - that it is not right to have any relations with groups that are promoting terror."

Mr Cameron's comments followed a speech at IT firm Infosys in Bangalore, as he was appealing for a "new relationship" with India.

He had been questioned by a member of the audience about British and American support for neighbouring Pakistan.

Mr Cameron said it was an issue he discussed with US president Barack Obama last week and would talk to Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh about in New Delhi tomorrow.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said he had not been accusing the Pakistani government of sponsoring terrorism.

He was repeating his previous demands for it to do more to "shut terror groups down", she added.

But in a subsequent interview with the BBC, Mr Cameron said: "It is an issue where we have to make sure that the Pakistani authorities are not looking in two ways."

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit responded that "there is no question of Pakistan looking the other way".

Mr Cameron's comments come shortly after the leak of confidential "war logs" which included detailed claims that Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency was secretly helping the Taliban.

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Mr Basit dismissed the claims as "crude, self-serving and unverifiable" and said Mr Cameron should not use them as a basis for his analysis of the situation.

"As the international community knows very well, Pakistan is committed against terrorism, against militancy, and we are committed not to allow our territory to be used for terrorism or terrorist actions anywhere in the world," he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

"So there is no question of Pakistan looking the other way.

"I think the Prime Minister was referring to these reports, which are unverifiable and outdated. If we start drawing inferences from these self-serving reports, then obviously we are distracting ourselves."

Pakistani senator Khurshid Ahmad, vice-president of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami Party, warned that Mr Cameron's remarks risked fuelling "anti-American, anti-West" feeling on the streets.

"I am deeply concerned," Professor Ahmad told World at One. "The basis on which this statement has been made is very fragile.

"The documents released are unreliable - 90% of them have been attributed to the Afghan intelligence agencies, whose reports are totally unreliable and fabricated.

"On the basis of such a report, it is not acceptable to make the statement that has been made."