Thursday, June 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No de-escalation: George
Threat of war persists: Advani

Bangalore, June 5
The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, today ruled out de-escalation of troops along the Indo-Pak border in the absence of any noticeable drop in infiltration into Kashmir.

Mr Fernandes, who was here to attend a parliamentary consultative committee meeting of his ministry told reporters that Pakistan leaders’ talks in this regard were not acceptable unless concrete evidence was seen at the ground level. “Our jawans are there and they are the ones who are trying to prevent the terrorists trained and sent by the Pakistani army under cover,’’ he added.

To queries, he said Russia had never said it would mediate in the Indo-Pak issue. India had never accepted any third party intervention and wanted the issue to be resolved through bilateral talks, he asserted.

About the option of using nuclear weapons, he said those who spoke about it had a special agenda of their own. But, India followed its own doctrine according to which it would not be the first country to use nuclear weapons and that too not against any non-nuclear state.

It was true that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and some of his colleagues and associates spoke about the use of nuclear weapons. But, again, it was General Musharraf who had categorically said five days ago that “anyone who is sane will not speak of using nuclear weapons, not even for discussion.’’ “I think none of us is irresponsible and anyone who had discussed it earlier will stop it,’’ Gen Musharraf had stated in an interview.

Asked to explain the ‘’special agenda’’ as mentioned by him, Mr Fernandes said it included creating panic among the people, building up pressure and creating conditions which adversely affected investments. “Using nuclear weapons is no joke,’’ he added.

About the next step, he asserted that enabling terrorists to enter India by providing them cover should end. India had sent a list of 20 terrorists, including six Pakistanis, wanted in connection with various offences.

He also categorically ruled out a joint patrol across the border by both India and Pakistan, saying, that “it will never happen.’’

NEW DELHI: Home Minister L.K. Advani today warned that the threat of war with Pakistan had not subsided and dismissed the measures purportedly taken by Islamabad to stop cross-border terrorism in India as “tactical moves made under duress.’’

Suspecting that terrorist activity would restart once the international spotlight on Kashmir faded, the Home Minister said the only way for Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf to prove his sincerity was to hand over the 20 suspected terrorists wanted by India.

The only way Islamabad could help defuse the tension along the border was to hand over the suspected terrorists who had sought asylum in Pakistan, Mr Advani said, adding that until such a step was taken, the threat of military action could not be discounted.

“I regard it as a litmus test of Pakistan’s sincerity that it means to do what it says. We will not like to delude ourselves about Pakistan’s intentions,’’ Mr Advani said in an interview.

“Stoppage of infiltration does not satisfy us. They can afford to do that for a couple of months.

Pakistan is taking certain decisions in respect of terrorism under pressure and those, too, only as tactical moves which can be reversed after some time.’’

He said his suspicions had been confirmed by intelligence reports about terrorist activity in Kashmir and intercepts indicated that these were tactical moves.

Mr Advani said while infiltration had declined along some parts of the Line of Control it continued in other parts.

He said both India and Pakistan did not want a war. However, India’s problem was the undeclared (proxy) war that Pakistan had unleashed.

Admitting that the war rhetoric between India and Pakistan had gone down during the past few days, he said this had become possible not because of any change in the ground situation, but because of international pressure on President Musharraf, especially by the USA and UK. UNI


8 more Pakistani soldiers killed
Srinagar-Leh road being targeted

Despite heavy shelling from Pakistan, BSF authorities continuing fencing of Barbed Wire along 190 Kms International Border from Kathua to Akhnoor. — PTI photo 

Jammu, June 5
With the shelling across the LoC showing no sign of abetting, the Indian forces in retaliatory firing today killed eight Pakistani soldiers as they targeted enemy positions destroying 12 bunkers in the Batalik-Dras-Kargil areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian forces, an Army spokesman here said, had to launch counter artillery and mortar fire assaults to silence Pakistani guns which had been indulging in heavy shelling in the areas for the past four days, trying to target the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway.

The spokesman said the Pakistani army had also carried out heavy artillery shelling in the Tangdhar area in Kupwara district, which was replied to by the Indian troops, damaging three enemy bunkers.

He said heavy artillery and mortar duels also continued south of the Pir Panjal range in the Poonch, Rajouri and Naushera sectors where also several Pakistani army casualties were reported and heavy damage was caused to a number of Pakistani posts.

An Army personnel was injured in the shelling by Pakistani forces in the Kargil region and a woman injured when mortar shells fired from across the border hit her house in the Balnoi area of Poonch district last evening.

Some more Pakistani soldiers were killed when their forward post opposite Digwar village in Poonch district collapsed in retaliatory action by the Indian troops last evening, official sources said here.

Another Pakistani post suffered damage in Bagh tehsil in PoK during the exchange of mortar shelling, they said. PTI


Pak expels Indian mission staffer

Islamabad, June 5
Pakistan today ordered the expulsion of Indian High Commission staffer Kulwant Singh on spying charges, a Foreign Ministry statement said. The government has declared Mr Kulwant Singh “persona non grata on account of his involvement in activities not compatible with his official status”, the statement said. “Mr Kulwant Singh was intercepted by Pakistani security authorities while receiving sensitive documents from a Pakistani contact” on Saturday, it claimed. AFP

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