Thursday, July 19,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Forget Agra, India tells Pakistan
Begin afresh from Simla, Lahore pacts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
In very clear terms, India today told Pakistan to forget the Agra summit and begin afresh on the basis of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration which are cornerstones of bilateral relations.

Since no “closure” was reached on an agreement at the Agra summit, therefore, we have to begin again, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Nirupama Rao told newspersons after hectic consultations with External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and other senior officials.

While Mrs Rao appreciated Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar’s statement yesterday in Islamabad that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had carried the impression back home that there was a great desire within India for the establishment of good neighbourly relations between the two countries, she said, “It is disappointing that no closure was reached on the text of an agreement. We will have to begin again on the basis of the existing agreements, that is Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration”.

Coming tough on Mr Sattar’s comment that there was no cross-border terrorism as there was no border, only a Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson expressed astonishment at the technicality being used by Islamabad. She said, “We know very well that Pakistan understands perfectly what is meant by cross-border terrorism which is inclusive of encouraging and abetting infiltration and terrorism”.

Referring to the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s description of use of media at Agra as “contemporary diplomacy”, Mrs Rao said, “This is a very novel interpretation of how diplomatic parleys are conducted”.

“Firstly, information cannot violate confidentiality and secondly, it cannot also violate diplomatic proprietary either”, she said adding, “thirdly this is a time-tested code of conduct between the host and guest in regard to observances which equally applies to both in terms of accesses being provided to media”.

“I say because the logic of media conducting negotiations simultaneously is to be accepted, then I am afraid international or bilateral confidential parleys might well be held in an amphitheatre with media present all the time”, she pointed out. Also it is an unwritten convention during one-to-one talks between leaders of governments, quite often notes taking is dispensed with, leave alone constant sharing with media, Mrs Rao said.

Asked whether the Prime Minister and the Pakistan President held talks without any note-taking, she admitted that there were such occasions during the talks. 


Beef up’ security around embassies
Ravi Bhatia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
For the first time in many years, intelligence agencies have suggested strengthening of security around Indian missions abroad following the threat by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al-Badr cadres in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) yesterday that they would not only step up violence in the valley but also target Indian installations abroad.

While the authorities have already stepped up security measures in the valley after the threat which came following the stalemate at the just concluded Indo-Pak summit in Agra, the intelligence agencies have suggested similar measures around Indian missions abroad, particularly in countries susceptible to terrorist violence.

A senior security official, when contacted, said security around Indian missions was regularly reviewed keeping in view the threat perception.

The intelligence agencies have apparently taken the cue from the USA which had considerably upgraded security measures around its missions around the world after the bombing in Sudan several years ago, allegedly by cadres owing allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

Sources said the staff in the missions were also being instructed to observe security precautions strictly while going about their daily duties in view of the threat. They said the staff in missions abroad were briefed about the importance of security, particularly in countries where the authorities perceived the presence of terrorist organisations.

Officials said the threat by the two terrorist organisations, active in the valley for the past couple of years, was being taken quite seriously as these were known to be extremely committed and had a cadre of “fidayeens” (suicide squads). These “fidayeens” have been responsible for several attacks on military and paramilitary camps in the valley.

Intelligence sources said the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Al-Badr were enjoying the patronage of powers inimical to India from across the border, particularly the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan which is also providing training to their cadres in several camps located in PoK.

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