Sunday, May 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak missile tests no threat: PM
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Manali, May 25
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today said the missile tests by Pakistan were not a threat to India and “we do not take these very seriously.” He said he was in constant touch with world leaders to pressurise Pakistan to refrain from backing cross-border terrorism.

Mr Vajpayee, who was informally talking to mediapersons here, said there was a limit to patience, adding that “we have given enough opportunity to Pakistan to relent. We are building up world opinion for pressurising Pakistan to desist from terrorism.”

He said he had written a letter to President George Bush about the tactics of Pakistan.

Replying to a question about the resolution of the Congress against the failure of the NDA government to properly tackle the Kashmir problem, Mr Vajpayee said he did not think that there was any change in the stand of the Congress, which had already extended its full support on the issue of fighting terrorism.

There can be differences on the Kashmir policy, but the entire country was united on the issue of rooting out terrorism from the country.

Meanwhile, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, and the National Security Adviser, Mr Brajesh Mishra, are coming here tomorrow to brief the Prime Minister about the situation on the Indo-Pakistan border and the preparedness of the security forces to meet any eventuality.

Mr Mishra has gone to Chennai today to see the Kalpakam Atomic Station and will return to Delhi this evening before coming here.

Sources said the British Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, was expected to come to Delhi on May 29 to discuss the issue of tension between India and Pakistan.

The sources said Mr Nelson Mandela had also expressed his desire to discuss the matter with Mr Vajpayee. Mr Vajpayee has written in detail about the tactics being adopted by Pakistan to encourage cross-border terrorism and the stand of India to US President George Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac. He was expected to speak to President Chirac on telephone this evening.

Meanwhile, Mr Vajpayee will lay the foundation stone of the 9-km-long Rohtang tunnel tomorrow. It will mark the commencement of work on the Rs 1,300-crore project of the Rohtang tunnel between Dhundi and Sisu in Lahaul valley to link the Manali-Leh highway.


France, Canada decry cross-border terrorism
S. P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Manali, May 25
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today made it clear to the Canadian Prime Minister Jaean Chretien and the French President Mr Jacques Chirac, that India would be forced to take direct action in case Pakistan did not stop indulging in cross-border terrorism.

Sources said that Mr Vajpayee received telephone calls from the two leaders here this evening. They expressed concern over the acts of terrorism being encouraged by Pakistan and condemned the brutal massacre of innocent women and children by terrorists in the Kaluchak area of Jammu.

Mr Vajpayee told both leaders that India’s patience was running out. The acts of terrorism have created national anger in the country. Action against Pakistan will be unavoidable in case cross-border terrorism was not stopped.

He made it clear that we would not remain silent spectators to the inhuman actions of Pakistan.

The French leader condemned the cross-border terrorism and expressed full understanding of the Indian perception against its fight against terrorism. The Canadian President also condemned the assassination of the Hurriyat leader, Mr Abdul Ghani Lone, at Srinagar.

They also discussed the security environment with Mr Vajpayee. Mr Vajpayee talked to the President, K. R. Narayanan on telephone and apprised him of the security scenario and his visit to Kashmir.

He also informed the President of the deliberations at the Unified Command on further strengthening of security on the border as well in Jammu and Kashmir.

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