Wednesday, January 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Advani: show proof of abandoning terror

New Delhi, January 22
Home Minister L.K. Advani said today India will believe that Pakistan has abandoned sponsoring terrorism only if it hands over 20 terrorists named in the list given to it and stops facilitating infiltration from across the border.

Mr Advani said India was ready for a meaningful dialogue on all issues including Jammu and Kashmir, but Pakistan must meet five conditions before the deep-rooted scepticism in India about Pakistan’s intentions could be dispelled. Pakistan must stop training, arming, and financing terrorists. It must also stop giving asylum to such terrorists who perpetrate terror in India, and must stop facilitating infiltration.

He said India had to see the change in the situation on the ground and not go by ‘nice-sounding words’, and this could be achieved if the last two of the five things spelt out by him can be met.

Ruling out return of Jammu and Kashmir to pre-1953 position, Home Minister L.K. Advani today favoured “greater devolution” of powers to the state and visualised India and Pakistan coming together in some type of confederal framework in the years to come.

“There cannot be full autonomy as our Constitution does not have such a provision. Our manifesto’s objective is to reduce overcentralisation and give greater powers to the states,” he told the India Today conclave here.

Replying to questions after delivering his keynote address on the concluding day of the three-day conclave, Mr Advani said, “The history of Jammu and Kashmir called for even greater devolution of powers. What we objected to was return of the state to pre-1953 position”.

The Home Minister said the Centre would welcome the J and K Government to identify areas for the exercise.

In his speech on ‘My India : The Vision for the Future’, Mr Advani said, “I think that it is not out of place to mention my hope and desire to see the coming together of India and Pakistan in some type of confederal framework in the years to come. This is not an impossible dream.”

The Home Minister said, “India, Pakistan and Bangladesh share so much in common with each other. We can continue to remain separate and sovereign nations and yet voluntarily opt for expanding the areas of cooperation.”

Terming Jammu and Kashmir as a “case of missed opportunities” for India to project its views, Home Minister regretted the country’s failure to forcefully tell the world that parts of the state illegally occupied by Pakistan and China belonged to India.

“Jammu and Kashmir legitimately and constitutionally belongs to India. But there is a view that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. The PoK belongs to India. It has been our failure to project this to the world,” he said.

On suggestions from J and K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and others that the Line of Control should be converted into international border, Mr Advani said the government was committed to the 1994 resolution of Parliament declaring PoK and parts of the state under illegal occupation of China as parts of India. AgenciesBack

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