Thursday, August 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Armitage visit: India sets terms
To seek Pak cooperation on jehadis
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
India is going to tell US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage when he visits the subcontinent on Friday and Saturday to exert pressure on Pakistan to give up its dual policy on terrorism.

Sources in South Block today said India would encourage the USA to continue to exert pressure on Pakistan so that Islamabad’s efforts to put a firewall between action against Al Qaida and Jehadis is dismantled.

India’s game plan in this regard is uncomplicated: Washington should put pressure on Islamabad to do in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) what it is doing in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The idea is that if Pakistan is really serious in its fight against terrorism, it should cooperate with India in taking action against terrorists in PoK just as Islamabad has been cooperating with the USA in taking action against Al Qaida and Taliban cadres in NWFP and FATA.

Significantly, 60 per cent of Taliban and Al-Qaida cadres are still to be accounted for. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had given this information to the Indian officials during his last visit here. When he was asked by Indian officials how did he reach this figure, he said 20 per cent of the cadres had been killed and 20 per cent were in American custody while the rest were unaccounted for.

Sources disclosed that India was also going to tell Mr Armitage that New Delhi was willing to resume dialogue with Pakistan at the military level provided Islamabad agree to discuss issues like terrorism and infiltration also. Besides, India could also consider to a joint operation with the Pakistani forces against terrorists in PoK.

India’s argument is that if there is a modicum of cooperation between the security forces of India and Pakistan, New Delhi would be able to make a distinction between the terrorists operating in India and those based in Pakistan.

“This modicum of cooperation at the military level would certainly increase our threshold of tolerance of slippages like Kaluchak,” sources said. In that event India’s reaction would be much different even if another Kaluchak-type act were to take place.

Another point India is going to take up with Mr Armitage is Gen Musharraf’s recent statement in which he has admitted that infiltration in small groups may still be going on along the Line of Control. India refuses to believe that Gen Musharraf is “helpless” in controlling the jehadi elements in his country.



India to take up ‘list of 20’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
India believes that if Pakistan were to send “even a bunch” of the 20 men wanted by New Delhi it would go down well with the public sentiments here that Islamabad had become serious in normalising relations.

Official sources here made it clear that the list of 20 was not a dead issue for India and the government would keep repeating it “ad nauseum” before the international community. This issue could well be taken up again when US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage comes here on a day-long visit on August 23. India has consistently been taking up the issue with the US authorities with the hope that Washington would pressurise Pakistan.

New Delhi feels that the resumption of a dialogue with Islamabad is not possible under the current circumstances when the Musharraf regime has reneged on its pledges to stop cross-border terrorism.

The sources said India would also tell the USA that Pakistan was making all efforts to sabotage the poll process in Jammu and Kashmir.

During his visit, Mr Armitage would meet Defence Minister George Fernandes, National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, though he would not be able to meet External Affairs Minister.

He will fly to Islamabad from here and then on to Japan and China.

Besides terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, cooperation in science and technology and social issues will also be discussed with Mr Armitage. “We may hear something from Mr Armitage on cooperation between India and the USA in these areas.”

Sources said there had been a major shift in USA policy towards India. Initially, the USA never made public the contents of their discussions with India or Pakistan. But now they had gone public saying that President Musharraf had indeed promised them that he would crackdown on terrorist-training camps.

In recent past, the USA had “positively moved away from Pakistan”, though Washington continued to be “beholden” to Gen Musharraf for extending his country’s support to America’s war against terrorism.



Vajpayee may meet Bush on Sept 12
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is likely to meet US President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York beginning on September 9.

Sources here said the Vajpayee-Bush meeting might take place on September 12 and would be their second interaction since their meeting in Washington in November last.

India was expecting Mr Bush to visit India in the coming months, maybe later this year or early next year, the sources said.

Mr Vajpayee’s US itinerary was still being worked out, though September 12 seemed to be the likely date for his meeting with Mr Bush. He was likely to address the UNGA on September 13.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was scheduled to speak before the Indian Prime Minister. Mr Vajpayee might also participate in a memorial service in New York for the victims of the September 11 terror attacks.

Mr Vajpayee was unlikely to visit any other country and would return home after his UNGA address.

Mr Vajpayee’s proposed visit to the US would form part of the agenda of the talks US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage would have with the Indian leadership during his day-long stay here on Friday.



Advani discusses terrorism with UK

London, August 21
The issue of Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir figured prominently in the talks Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani had with his British counterpart John Prescott here today.

Mr Advani is understood to have conveyed India’s concern over continued support to cross-border terrorism by Pakistan and its attempt to disrupt forthcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Funding of Kashmiri militants by London-based Muslim extremists is also believed to have came up for discussions.

India has already provided documentary proof to the British authorities with regard to funding of militants in Jammu and Kashmir by London-based Kashmiri separatist leader Ayub Thakur with the plea for his trial in Britain.

Pakistan must abandon terrorism as an instrument of state policy before India could resume dialogue with it, Mr Advani said.

“Pakistan must abandon terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Today Pakistan is focusing only on infiltration from across the border. But our main concern is that the (terrorists’ training) camps in Pakistan must be wound up and support of arms and finance to terrorists must end. The entire infrastructure of terrorists should be disbanded,” Mr Advani said before going for the talks. The Deputy Prime Minister, who is on a three-day official visit, had a luncheon meeting with Mr Prescott. PTI



Pervez vests self with more powers

Islamabad, August 21
Ahead of the general election in October this year, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today proclaimed himself as the President and the Chief of Army Staff for the next five years and vested himself with powers to dismiss the National Assembly and appoint Chiefs of the three services.

Addressing a press conference in which local media from all parts of the country was invited, he said he would continue to hold the dual posts of President and Chief of Army Staff for the next five years to ensure the continuity of the reforms initiated by him even after the October general election. General Musharraf promulgated an ordinance restoring Article 58(2)B of the Constitution giving discretionary powers to the President to dissolve the National Assembly. His new ordinance has also scrapped the 13th amendment to the Constitution which empowered the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to appoint the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. PTI


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |