Sunday, June 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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Pak intent non-peaceful: MEA
Musharraf advocating ‘military adventurism’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
Expressing deep disappointment over Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's comment on the Kargil war of 1999, India today said that the Pakistani head of the state was advocating "military adventurism" as a legitimate instrument for furthering Islamabad's design on Jammu and Kashmir, which could not take Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiative forward.

A spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs expressed deep disappointment over Gen Musharraf's comment during an interview with an Indian news channel. He said: “The most distressing were the comments on Kargil and the implication that military adventurism of that nature is a legitimate instrument for furthering Pakistan's designs on Jammu and Kashmir".

Stating that Mr Vajpayee had launched a major peace initiative only a few weeks ago, the spokesman asked as to how can a peace initiative go forward in the face of such a signal of non-peaceful intent.

India would judge the Pakistani leadership by its specific steps resulting in cessation of cross-border infiltration and dismantling of the infrastructure of support to terrorism in that country, the spokesman said. New Delhi would continue with its recent efforts that had found resonance amongst the people and civil society in Pakistan.

“Instead of responding to India's first steps which needed to be carefully nurtured and built upon by further action in ending infiltration and terrorism, the Pakistani President has chosen to dismiss the importance of these steps. His dismissal only shows the vicious circle in which India-Pakistan relations have got trapped.”

“India's initiative should have been facilitated by further action in ending infiltration and terrorism by Islamabad, so that, the two countries can progressively move towards dialogue,” the spokesman pointed out and said: "This requires restraint and maturity in addressing sensitive issues in India-Pakistan relations."

"It is also unfortunate that President Musharraf has denied the significance and impact of the universally acknowledged success of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Facts cannot be wished away by denials."

Having said that President Musharraf had himself referred to the lack of trust between the two countries, New Delhi said: "It is clear that the first step should be to expand economic and cultural cooperation, besides people-to-people contacts so as to generate an atmosphere of understanding, trust and confidence."

India decided to react strongly realising that Mr Musharraf was refusing to accept that the Kargil war had been against Pakistan's self interest. The Pakistani President had said in his interview that: "Kargil was a decision taken by the Mujahideen and we got involved because of the action taken by the Indian troops."

New Delhi has taken an exception to Mr Musharraf's refusal to commit himself to avoiding Kargil-like situations in the future saying "to avoid Kargils, we need to resolve disputes and much depends on how we proceed on the peace track and how things develop. Nobody can say yes, we will have another Kargil, but we need to resolve dispute."

The spokesman said that Mr Vajpayee's peace initiative had been welcomed all over the world, including in Pakistan.

In spite of Mr Musharraf's aggressive posturing in the interview, India is going to watch the situation closely. The peace momentum has surely been adversely affected for the time being. Observers said the Pakistani President had been forced to take such a tough posture as he was facing a tough opposition domestically.

“In any case, India would wait till Mr Musharraf has completed his tour of the USA, Europe and Russia,” observers said. 

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