Thursday, January 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Fernandes rules out N-war with Pak

New Delhi, January 9
Defence Minister George Fernandes has ruled out the possibility of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Participating in the “Seedhi Baat” programme of the “Aaj Tak” news channel, he regretted that the USA’s policy towards Indian efforts to isolate Pakistan on terrorism was not up to New Delhi’s expectations. ”Their (USA’s) work is done and now injustice is being meted out to India on this issue....”

Mr Fernandes said all efforts were on to resolve the current Indo-Pak tensions through the diplomatic process. “No time limit has been set for Pakistan to accept our demands but whatever steps we are taking are a clear indication that if the problem is not solved amicably, we shall be forced to take strong measures.”

The Defence Minister said India wanted Pakistan to stop indulging in cross-border terrorism. If Pakistan stopped sending terrorists to India, the problem of terrorism would be over, he added.

Even as he avoided a question on whether a war would take place between the two countries, he said the Indian forces were “ready to meet any challenge.”

Mr Fernandes did not agree with a suggestion that India was toeing the line of the USA and the UK. UNIBack


Dal (Mann) to dissuade India from war
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
In a diplomatic initiative aimed at ensuring peace and harmony, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) has written to 12 Ambassadors and High Commissioners here to exert “full diplomatic pressure to dissuade India from going to war with Pakistan.” The party has expressed the apprehension that a nuclear attack on Punjab will wipe out an entire race as the State which is a home to Sikhs and Punjabis, is strategically located between the two countries.

In its attempt to build international opinion against war, the party has sought the mediation of the heads of missions of Australia, Britain, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Pakistan and Russia here and expressed gratitude for their efforts in stopping a war build-up in the region.

A letter addressed to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, US Embassy, warns of the futility and dangerous consequences of war. It says that Punjab will suffer the most if a war breaks out. The party has stated that the message of the people of Punjab to the entire world is: ‘Peace, not war.’

While drawing attention to a survey carried out by the party in the border areas of Amritsar, Ferozepore and Gurdaspur, the party President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has said all villagers in these districts have left their homes due to a massive build-up of the Army and the Air Force.

“Young men are being conscripted. Crops have been destroyed. There are no alternative settlement facilities. Education of children in these areas has suffered as schools have been forcibly closed down,” the letter reads.

Similar letters have been sent to other foreign missions here.

Mr Mann has expressed concern that while the international community is active on the no-war front, the party is “still searching for allies and friends who will care for the safety and welfare of the people of Punjab.”

The party has reaffirmed that neither India nor Pakistan can afford a war. It is of the view that the heavy defence expenditure, the economic implications and the displacement of a large population on the borders should be a major deterrent for both the countries for going to war.

The party feels that India should pool all its resources to solve problems related to the potable water, education, poverty, hunger, unemployment and corruption.Back

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