NEW DELHI -- Terming "jihadi terrorism" as common threat to South Asia, NSA Ajit Doval today warned Pakistan not to engage in covert actions saying it is a very short-sighted strategy of the neighbouring country.
He said Pakistan has never realised that it can be "profitable" and "most effective" for its economic growth and stability if it engages with India and rest of the South Asian countries.
"Till that happens, what can India do? I think one is that we should continue to work hard to persuade Pakistan, to convince Pakistan, through our sincerity, whatever we can do and whatever we think is the language in which the Pakistan can understand it well. We should be able to convey and convince it," he said.
Delivering the first 'Nagendra Singh memorial lecture' on 'Ensuring peace in South Asia: Role of India' organised by the International Goodwill Society of India, he said most of South Asian countries' security threats are internal.
"There is only one threat which has got its footprints in almost all of the nations. Problem about this is that its origin, its nursery, is also the member of South Asian region.
Islamic terrorism or jihadi terrorism, rather, I should use that word, is one of the common threats."
"Bangladesh is affected by it, Afghanistan is affected, India is affected, Pakistan is affected by it. Sri Lanka is affected," the NSA said.
This is one common threat on which there could have been much of cooperation but two of the countries Afghanistan and Pakistan have become epicentre of that, he said.
"Since Pakistan is part of the problem it could not become part of the solution," Doval said maintaining that "it is only Pakistan with which there have been problems".
He said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power one of the cornerstones of the government policy was that "we have got to take all South Asian countries together".
"And that was the idea when all the heads of the governments were invited for his swearing-in ceremony. It did start well, it gave us lot of dividend. Probably things with Pakistan have not developed as much but we are sure that some day we will able to do so," Doval said.
He said another important requirement will be Pakistan shifting from its strategic position where it feels that covert action can be an effective low cost option as security strategy because supporting terrorism or covert action is a very low cost exercise.