Friday, January 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Bush assures Advani
Musharraf will act within a week

Home Minister L. K. Advani watches as US Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks
Home Minister L. K. Advani (L) watches as US Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks to media following their meeting at the State Department on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

Attorney-General John Ashcroft greets Home Minister L. K. Advani
Attorney-General John Ashcroft greets Home Minister L. K. Advani prior to their meeting at the Justice Department in Washington on Wednesday. 
— AP/PTI photo

New Delhi, January 10
Home Minister L.K. Advani said today that he had told American leaders that India’s patience was running out as Pakistan had not taken any tangible action against terrorists during the past three weeks since the attack on Parliament house on December 13.

He said that American leaders he had talked to had assured him that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf would take action within a week to outlaw terrorism and crackdown on terrorists. However, Mr Advani said he had made it clear that India will only believe this when action is taken and will not go by mere statements.

In a telephonic interview to the Aaj Tak television channel from Washington, Mr Advani said he was satisfied with his meetings with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Policy Planning Director Richard Haass.

WASHINGTON: Mr Bush, who dropped in during Mr Advani’s meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice at the White House, told the Home Minister that he expects Pakistan and General Musharraf to take all necessary steps to fight terrorism.

“General Musharraf has done it in the case of the Taliban and President Bush expects him to do it in the case of India also and abandon terror as an instrument of state policy,” Mr Advani told reporters on the White House lawns after the landmark meeting with the American President

Mr Advani declared that what he had just said “came from the highest executive of the USA and this makes all the difference.”

Describing his meeting with Mr Bush as the “most important discussion of my tour,” he said “I must say that I feel satisfied that the USA is determined to see the end of terrorism everywhere.”

However, Mr Advani told Mr Bush that Pakistan would be judged by actions which should accompany its statements.

“Pakistan must act sincerely, decisively, demonstrably and speedily,” Mr Advani said enunciating the list of demands at a crowded press conference yesterday after meeting top US leaders, including Attorney-General John Ashcroft and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He said the “touchstone” of Pakistan’s sincerity would be its “positive response” to the demands.

Asked if an Indian strike would ensue if Pakistan failed to meet the demands, Mr Advani said it was a matter for the Cabinet Committee on Security and the Indian Government as a whole to decide.

Pakistan must hand over the 20 terrorists whose names along with “copious evidence of their acts of crime against India’’ had been provided to the Musharraf government, Mr Advani said. Fourteen of them were Indian citizens who had been red-flagged by Interpol, he added.

Mr Advani demanded that Pakistan close training camps and stop arms supply, funding and all other manner of direct and indirect assistance to terrorists on Pakistan soil, including in areas controlled by it.

Pakistan should stop infiltration of men and supply of arms into Jammu and Kashmir, he said, and go for a “categorical and unambiguous renunciation of terrorism’’ irrespective of the cause it sought to further.

Referring to the fight against terrorism in Punjab, Mr Advani said, “It took us over a decade to overcome terrorism in Punjab. But vanquish it, we did.’’

“We are similarly determined to stamp out terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir and in the rest of India.’’ Mr Advani said he had shared with Gen Powell and other US leaders information about the 20 terrorists that India had sought from Pakistan.

He said he had drawn the attention of Gen Powell and Mr Ashcroft to the continued infiltration into India by hundreds of terrorists even after September 11 to carry out a proxy war whose “essential ingredients are sabotage and terrorism.’’

This was happening even when armed forces of both India and Pakistan were stationed on either side of the Line of Control. It was a situation in which “infiltration is impossible unless it is perpetrated by the other side.’’ UNI, PTIBack


Pervez must act: Powell

Washington, January 10
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he would head for South Asia next week to try to cool boiling India-Pakistan tensions, and called on Islamabad to intensify a crackdown on militants.

Powell said yesterday after talks with Home Minister L.K. Advani that he would travel in the hope of “making a further contribution ... towards resolving the situation, the crisis, that currently exists in a peaceful manner.”

Powell has been at the vanguard of a feverish US diplomacy designed to head off a military confrontation between two nuclear-armed rivals which Washington fears could severely hamper its war on terrorism.

A further two stops may be added to Powell’s itinerary later, officials said. The Washington Post yesterday reported that he was considering a visit to Afghanistan.

Advani was kicking off a five-day visit to the USA, after his government publicly questioned the warm US praise lavished on Pakistan’s crackdown on militants, India brands as terrorists.

New Delhi has complained that Pakistan is yet to satisfy its demands for a crackdown on militant groups, following an attack on its Parliament on December 13 which triggered a South Asian diplomatic crisis and military standoff.

Powell praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his actions, but urged him to take appropriate steps after India handed Pakistan a list of 20 militants it wants arrested.

“With respect to the list of 20, I have seen that list, and I know President Musharraf has the list. We have discussed the list with him — I know he is examining it and I hope he will take appropriate action on the list, but it is in his hands, Powell told reporters.

India has accused two Pakistan-based militant groups, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), of carrying out the Parliament attack — and claims the plan was hatched by Pakistani intelligence services.

Earlier, Advani chewed over anti-terrorism measures with Attorney General John Ashcroft, who agreed to pay him a return visit.

Advani tomorrow will hold talks with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and there is speculation President George W. Bush may elect to drop by for an unofficial meeting which would be seen as a symbol of close India-US relations. AFPBack

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