Wednesday, May 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pak ‘epicentre’ of terrorism
Musharraf’s speech disappointing and dangerous, says Jaswant
Tribune News Service

Fact file

  • Pressure applied by the USA and the UK on Pakistan not working
  • Pakistan holding threat of N-weapons while India following no-first-use-of-N-arms policy
  • Cutting diplomatic ties with Pakistan ruled out
  • General’s denial on terrorism export merely verbal
  • General gave political colour to heinous crime of Lone’s murder

New Delhi, May 28
India today said the world should recognise that the “epicentre” of international terrorism is located in Pakistan and that terrorists targeting not just India but other countries, too, receive support from state structures within Pakistan.

External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh made this statement at his eagerly-awaited press conference here to convey India’s response to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s yesterday’s address to the nation which he dismissed as “disappointing and dangerous.”

Mr Jaswant Singh made it clear that “the current war against terrorism will not be won decisively until base camps inside Pakistan are closed permanently.”

Asked whether India would reciprocate if Pakistan were to close down the terrorist training camps, the minister said New Delhi would have to see the ground situation and if the camps are closed down “permanently”, then it would surely reciprocate.

He called General Musharraf’s televised address last night “disappointing” because it was merely a repetition of some earlier assurances which remained unfulfilled; and “dangerous” because it involved “belligerent posturing” which had led to “tensions being raised and not reduced”.

Saying that Pakistan had not taken any step to stop the lethal export of terrorism from its soil, Mr Jaswant Singh added that “mere verbal denials” about stoppage of cross-border terrorism were untenable as the situation on the ground was quite different.

Viewers watch live telecast
Viewers watch live telecast of External
Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh's Press conference, in Guwahati on Tuesday. — PTI photo

He charged Pakistan with holding threats of nuclear weapons and terrorism simultaneously and asked the international community to take note of it. “General Musharraf and many ministers of his cabinet are talking casually about nuclear weapons... about nuclearisation of terrorism.”

He made it a point to stress that India continued to follow the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, but significantly added, “We are not talking of it now.”

Asked about the test-firing of missiles by Pakistan in the past three days, Mr Jaswant Singh said India was not “greatly impressed” with such “antics”. “They (missiles) are either imported technology or imported hardware.”

Condemning General Musharraf’s remarks on Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone’s assassination, Mr Jaswant Singh charged the Pakistani ruler with trying to give a political colour to a “heinous crime”. General Musharraf had rejected allegations that Pakistan’s ISI was responsible for the killing in Kashmir last week and said Islamabad wanted to know how the killers could vanish into thin air in the presence of thousands of troops and people.

Asked whether it would be easier for India to deal with a democratically elected leader in Pakistan and not a military ruler, Mr Jaswant Singh said, “We have to deal with the world as it is and not as it ought to be. So I deal with Pakistan as it is.”

Mr Jaswant Singh refused to comment on the mandate secured by General Musharraf at a recent referendum, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan.

Asked about Pakistan’s interference in India’s internal affairs when General Musharraf yesterday spoke of Gujarat and levelled wild accusations of “Hindu terrorism”, he dismissed it as “absurd”.

The minister ruled out severing diplomatic relations with Pakistan, saying, “There is no question of it”. His comment was in response to a question whether India would sever diplomatic ties with Pakistan in the light of President Musharraf’s comments about happenings in Gujarat.

In another significant remark, Mr Jaswant Singh said the pressure applied by the USA and UK on Pakistan was not working. “It is not to my subjective satisfaction ....What result we see on the ground was important. Today, there was a third missile test... There are all other kinds of activities by Pakistan”.

“It is really for the USA and UK to assess for themselves as to whether their pressure is working because this was their stated objective to fight against terrorism. There should not be any deviation. It is for the UK and USA to consider”, he said.

Asked whether Home Minister L. K. Advani’s statement that India has to adopt “another strategy” to counter Pakistan’s proxy war means India will have to go in for war, Mr Jaswant Singh said if a particular medicine was not working then try another. He, however, did not elaborate.

To another question, Mr Jaswant Singh described as “intriguing” the suggestions that General Musharraf was not having enough control over terrorist activities. “You cannot have 98 per cent support of people of Pakistan, as I am informed he had got in the referendum, and simultaneously claim that you don’t have knowledge of what is happening in Pakistan.”

Mr Jaswant Singh pointed out that it was General Musharraf himself who had said from time to time that he was in full control of affairs, there was “unity of command”, and his allies also had been saying that he is “fully in control”.

“These are simultaneously contradictory assertions... You cannot have it both ways,” the minister said. Asked whether India’s action against terrorism would be approved of by the world community, Mr Jaswant Singh said, “India is not waiting for approval of anybody. The Government of India does not work on anybody’s approval.” 


Musharraf a blatant liar, says BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
The BJP today called Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf a “blatant liar” saying that his address to the nation yesterday was a “let-down” as “we didn’t expect this from a Head of the State”.

Talking to newspersons, BJP spokesman Sunil Shastri said it was expected that he would say something which could lead towards easing out tensions. But, instead, he called India as enemy no. one of Pakistan.

“After treating India in this manner, what can Pakistan or the entire world expect from India”, Mr Shastri said, lamenting that General Musharraf had tried to create a wedge among different communities in India.

“India is known for her secular policy and we believe in being Indians first then anything else”, Mr Shastri said.



Pervez’s remarks unacceptable: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
The Congress today termed as “unwarranted and unacceptable” the critical comments made by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the internal situation in India and said it belied all expectations of his sincerity to reduce tension on the borders.

Congress chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy said, “General Musharraf’s critical comments on the internal situation in India are unwarranted and unacceptable.”



Straw in New Delhi

New Delhi, May 28
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived here this evening from Islamabad as part of his mission to defuse the current tension between India and Pakistan. Mr Straw will meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and Defence Minister George Fernandes tomorrow to apprise them of his discussions with Pakistani leaders. UNI

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