Saturday, June 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Terror from Pak has not ended: US envoy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
In an unusually candid admission, the USA today accepted that Pakistan had not stopped cross-border terrorism against India and stoutly denied that Washington was applying any pressure on New Delhi to send its troops to Iraq as part of the “stabilising forces” in the war-ravaged country.

“Terrorism emanating from Pakistan (against India) is not over. Global terrorism will not end until cross-border terrorism against India ends permanently,” outgoing US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill said here.

Turning down suggestions on the USA’s double standards on the issue of terrorism, Mr Blackwill pointed out, “A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist...they are killing innocent people.”

On the issue of Indian troops for Iraq, Mr Blackwill sought to take the heat out of the subject, saying that the decision was entirely in New Delhi’s hands and “if India were to decide against sending troops to Iraq, it will not damage the Indo-US relationship.”

At the same time, the Ambassador clarified that Indian troops would not be used for combat operations and would operate under the Indian flag, if New Delhi were to send its men to the embattled nation.

He stressed that his country would certainly want Indian troops to be part of the stabilising force as they were highly professional and well versed in peace-keeping operations. Any decision on India’s part to send its troops to Iraq would further enhance the Indo-US relationship. “This is entirely up to the Indian Government and the people of India to decide.”

Mr Blackwill said India had vital interests in Iraq because of energy supplies from that country as also historical links between the two nations. The Iraqis in general were friendly to Indians.

He said the Pentagon team, arriving here on Monday, was not coming with any brief. “It is not coming here to suggest to India to decide one way or the other.”

Mr Blackwill said Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani, who is currently in the USA, had stated that the USA had not put any pressure on him to send Indian troops to Iraq.

Asked why the US Administration was not taking any step towards democratising Iraq, he said stabilisation was more important at this stage as that would lead to democratisation.

The US proposal to India to send troops to Iraq has triggered a major controversy in India with the opposition parties not in favour of any such move.

Mr Blackwill’s interaction with the media is being seen here as an exercise to placate the Indian public opinion on the issue of Indian troops for Iraq as Washington is being perceived as applying pressure on New Delhi to send troops because the USA wants to avoid its casualties which are increasing.


Pak rules out N-rollback

Islamabad, June 13
Pakistan today said a rollback of its nuclear programme was out of the question and that it would make no compromise on national security under any “outside pressure”. 
Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed told reporters in Parliament that the Opposition parties, especially the Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), should avoid making “irresponsible statements”, which cast doubts about Pakistan’s continuation of its nuclear programme, ahead of President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to the USA. UNI

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