September 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India
Curbs’ removal no reward: India
New Delhi, September 24
Raising serious objections to the impression being created that lifting of economic sanctions against India by the USA was a “reward” for its cooperation to the Bush administration in combating global terrorism, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms Nirupama Rao said today that “a nation of one billion people did not need any rewards for its stand on issues of principles”.
Ms Rao said one cannot fight terrorism, by adopting such an attitude. She said India was engaged in a war on terrorism for over two decades now and had lost more than 53,000 innocent civilians in the fight against the eradication of this evil.
Regarding Indo-US relations, especially in the context of the recent terrorist attacks that rocked the USA, she said New Delhi never viewed the relationship through the “constricted prism” of US-Pak relations.
Now that the USA had lifted sanctions against India, both countries would be able to focus better on strengthening democracy, particularly concentrating on cementing the coalition against terrorism. In a cryptic comment on the developments in Pakistan, she said “India wished the people of Pakistan well”.
Moreover, India had always maintained that a multi-ethnic and sovereign government of Afghanistan was the only remedy for bringing the war-devastated country into the global mainstream.
Stating that New Delhi expected that the list of 151 entities under the US sanctions would come down following the removal of restrictions, Ms Rao avoided a direct reply to a question regarding Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar’s reported order to Kashmiri militants to join the Taliban forces against the USA.
Asked whether India favoured the return of exiled Afghan king Zahir Shah, the spokesperson said “I would not like to comment on the evolving situation there”.
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