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Friday, November 13, 1998
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No headway in talks on terrorism
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 12 — With India today asking Pakistan to cease aiding and abetting terrorism as its proxy war would not succeed under any circumstances, the Indo-Pak talks on the issue of terrorism and drug trafficking today registered limited progress as the two sides stated their respective positions.

Limited agreement between the two sides was in the area of further strengthening existing bilateral cooperation between the Narcotic Control Bureau of India and the Anti-Narcotics Force of Pakistan for combating drug trafficking.

Both sides also agreed to set up a mechanism for regular meetings and exchanges of operational information between the CBI and the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan for expeditious assistance to each other for combating various types of crimes, including counterfeiting of currency, cyber crimes etc. Apart from it, nothing much was achieved at the talks.

A joint statement, which remained a repeat of statements on the earlier rounds of talks on six other subjects held between the delegations of the two countries, said: "The discussion was held in a frank and cordial atmosphere. The two sides stated their respective positions. It was agreed to continue discussions during the next round of the dialogue process."

While India told Pakistan that it should stop state terrorism, Islamabad denied that it had any hand in it.

Briefing newspersons after the talks, the Home Secretary, Mr B.P. Singh, said: "We urged Pakistan to stop its relentless but futile pursuit of destabilising India through state-sponsored terrorism."

Mr Singh said overwhelming evidence was presented to Pakistan of its involvement, and that of its official agencies, in terrorism in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, as also elsewhere in India.

"In this connection, we also handed over to Pakistan a document containing material evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism", he said.

India also asked Pakistan to hand over 32 top ranking terrorists, drug lords, a fugitives and underworld operators from India who were given shelter by Pakistan. The list of these criminals was also released to the media.

Similarly, India also asked Pakistan to close 30 training camps of militants situated in Pakistan and the PoK. The list of these camps was also released to the media.

While the Pakistan delegation tried to deny their involvement in state sponsorship of terrorism in India on the alibi that they were only giving moral support to the so-called freedom struggle in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Singh said adding that it was pointed out to them that "terrorism anywhere cannot and should not be justified by any civilised society on the basis of such definitional quibbles".

The pretence of Pakistan only providing moral support to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir was also exposed by the fact that as many as 243 Pakistani and 48 residents of the occupied Kashmir belonging to various fundamentalist and terrorist organisations had been killed by the Indian security forces and as many as 91 Pakistani and 34 residents of the occupied Kashmir were in Indian jails in connection with terrorist crimes, the Home Secretary said.

"We urged Pakistan to stop its relentless but futile pursuit of destabilising India through state-sponsored terrorism. We believe that for creating a right atmosphere for bilateral relations, it is incumbent upon Pakistan to cease these activities which are not in the interests of either country", Mr Singh said adding that accordingly "we have proposed four steps to be taken by Pakistan".

New Delhi has asked Islamabad to "abandon the policy of state sponsorship of terrorism against India and dismantle totally the infrastructure existing in Pakistan for indoctrinating, recruiting, training, arming, financing and infiltrating militants for the purpose of terrorist violence in India".

Further, it has been asked to close down more than 30 training camps for terrorist functioning in Pakistan and the occupied Kashmir. India has also asked Pakistan to deny the use of their territory or other facilities to fundamentalist and militant organisations who had been propagating the cult of religious violence, training militants and raising funds for ‘Jehad'.

It was stressed that such activities "violated all established norms and canons of inter-state conduct, and were contrary to fundamental rights, civil liberties and freedom", Mr Singh said.

"Pakistan’s overt and covert involvement in terrorism directed against India is a matter of record. It is well documented and acknowledged by neutral international observers, including the media, and corroborating evidence is found in the Pakistani media itself," Mr Singh said.

"It was made abundantly clear to Pakistan side that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and not a disputed territory as claimed by Pakistan", Mr Singh said adding that "Pakistan’s suggestion for involvement of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGIP) in India and Pakistan or some other international observers along the border in Jammu and Kashmir to verify India’s allegations regarding Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in India was firmly rejected".

"India is firmly opposed to third party involvement", Mr Singh said adding that Simla Agreement clearly provided for bilateral settlement of all outstanding issues through peaceful means.

In reply to repeated questions on the third party mediation on the issue of terrorism, Mr Singh quipped asking "if the USA will accept China’s mediation on its problems with Mexico".


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