Sunday, September 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Stop infiltration, Bush tells Pervez
Hari Jaisingh

New York, September 14
Taking serious note of India’s assertion about Pakistan’s continuing intransigence in controlling cross-border terrorism, U S President George Bush categorically and strongly told Gen Pervez Musharraf to end sponsoring violence aimed at disrupting the four-phase Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Conveying this to India, key officials of the Bush administration said Washington had used its leverage with Pakistan in conveying to Gen Musharraf that Islamabad must end its machinations of infiltration.

New Delhi’s coercive diplomacy in impressing upon the Bush administration that the USA must increase its pressure on Pakistan to contain and stop cross-border terrorism had found a strong echo. India also warned the USA that Gen Musharraf and the powerful Inter-Service Intelligence of Pakistan was providing a safe haven to the remnants of the Taliban and Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida which had issued fresh threats of repeating 9/11 by attacking nuclear installations.

At a Press conference here, the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, Mr Brajesh Mishra, said Mr Bush had reaffirmed his country’s “total commitment” to the international war against terrorism.

The US President had informed Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that he would press upon Pakistan unequivocally on the need to stop cross-border terrorism and sponsoring violence to disrupt elections in J and K.

Asked that following the bluster and tirade against India by Gen Musharraf, had Indo-Pak ties touched its nadir yet again, Mr Mishra replied that the Pakistan President had himself acknowledged that he was desperate on the Kashmir issue. “Since nothing else was going on between India and Pakistan for the last year or so except cross-border terrorism, where is the question of the clock being set back,” he observed.

He reacted sharply to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s assessment that the “underlying causes” must be addressed for the tense and perilious situation in South Asia. “We do not agree with Mr Annan’s assessment of the situation.” He pointed out that Mr Vajpayee specifically criticised the mindset that called for the “underlying causes” to be dealt with.

To another question about the UN Security Council expansion and India’s claim to a permament seat, Mr Mishra said at present the whole issue is on the back burner.

Mr Mishra said in Mr Vajpayee’s talks with Mr Bush and his own with US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and U S Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the major emphasis and focus was on Indo-US relations and how to take them forward.

He disclosed that there was a proposal to establish a forum to deal with licensing issues and find ways whereby Indian and American firms could avail themselves of the existing opportunities.

On Iraq, Mr Mishra said everybody was talking about action for implementing the UN resolutions on weapons inspection and lifting of sanctions in tandem.

On Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism, Mr Mishra said: It does not lie in Gen Musharraf’s mouth to say that there are three parties to the Kashmir issue — India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. This is particularly so because Pakistan is training terrorists, arming and equipping them, financing them and communicating with them when they cross over to the Indian side of the Line of Control”. Further, he said considering the nature of the terrain in J and K, any number of troops would find it difficult to stop all infiltration.

Mr Mishra said Mr Bush and Mr Vajpayee agreed to intensify contacts and exchanges in high technology subjects and nuclear energy besides continuing a strategic dialogue between the USA and India on counter terrorism measures.

There will also be regular exchange of views on regional issues like South Asia, West Asia and other tension spots. Bilateral collaboration was under way on fuel cells and expected these to be enhanced through the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.

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