Wednesday, January 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Act to convince the world, Bush tells Pak
Musharraf harps on military capabilities
Vasantha Arora

Washington, January 8
US President George W. Bush has again asked his Pakistani counterpart, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to continue to take strong action against terrorism.

He said tensions between Pakistan and India remain high, and Musharraf can do more to ease the pressure. “I don’t believe the situation is defused yet, but I do believe there is a way to do so.

“I think it’s very important for Musharraf to make a clear statement to the world that he intends to crack down on terror,” Mr Bush told reporters in his Oval Office here.

“We are working hard to convince both the Indians and the Pakis that there’s a way to deal with their problems without going to war.”

At the same time Bush said he was pleased with the action Gen Musharraf had taken so far. “And I believe if he does that, and continues to do what he is doing, it will provide relief to a situation that is still serious.”

Mr Bush got personally involved in efforts to ease the crisis in relations between India and Pakistan — calling leaders of the two countries and making public statements urging both calm and action against terrorism.

Tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi escalated last month after an attack on the Indian Parliament in which 14 people died. India has blamed two Kashmiri terrorist groups based in Pakistan for the assault.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also said it is vital for nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and reduce violence to avoid confrontation.

Mr Boucher said the USA believed that Musharraf was committed to dismantling terrorist groups that threaten Pakistan and its neighbours.

“We note that there have been more arrests over the weekend, for example, and we understand that Musharraf intends to continue to speak out against extremism and terrorism and to try to set Pakistan on a course of moderation,” he told reporters.

President Bush’s using the term “Pakis” to describe Pakistanis created a furore.

Reporters called the Pakistani Embassy for its reaction on this, and very soon the White House hastened to clarify that the President meant no disrespect to the Pakistani people.

ISLAMABAD: General Pervez Musharraf reiterated on Tuesday that this country’s military was capable of meeting challenges of all types.

Pakistan, he told a meeting of corps commanders, in Rawalpindi, was a “peace-loving nation”, but added that it would respond with “complete national will and resolve in case of any aggression“.

The meeting was held to discuss the latest situation arising out of Indo-Pak tensions.

The meeting, discussed operational preparedness of Pakistan’s defence forces in the light of heavy military buildup on the Indo-Pak border.

General Musharraf was briefed about preparations m. The President reviewed operational plans and gave his approval, it said.

The meeting of the corps commanders, considered a top policy body of the military regime was held in the backdrop of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s shuttle diplomacy. IANS, UNI, PTI Back


Advani to broach hijackers’ issue with USA
Tribune News Service and PTI

New Delhi, January 8
Union Home Minister L.K. Advani today left for a week-long visit to the USA to apprise it of the measures being taken by India to counter cross-border terrorism.

Sources in the Home Ministry said Mr Advani was accompanied by a delegation comprising Home Secretary Kamal Pande, Intelligence Bureau Director K.P. Singh and other senior officers of the ministries of Home and External Affairs.

Mr Advani is likely to meet US President George W. Bush, the Vice-President, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney-General John Ashcroft, the National Security Advisor and other dignitaries.

Mr Advani’s official programme also includes meetings with the Mayor/Governor of New York, Congress leaders and Indian-American Community Group members.

Sources said that Mr Advani was the first Indian Home Minister to have been extended an invitation by the USA in the recent past for an official visit. Mr Advani is expected to return to Delhi via London on January 14.

Mr Advani is likely to raise with US leaders the issues of bringing to book the five Pakistan-based hijackers of an Indian plane against whom both the Indian and the US police have registered separate cases.

He is expected to take up the issue during his meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, the sources said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also filed a case in the matter.

Mr Powell also expects to discuss with Mr Advani the question of sending a special envoy to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions. Back

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