Monday, June 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Advani arrives in London
Talks to focus on illegal immigration, Pak
P.P.S Gill
Tribune News Service

London, June 15
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, arrived here this morning from New York on the last leg of his two-nation visit that began on June 7. He landed at the Heathrow Airport to a bright Sunday morning 8 a.m.

The main focus of talks between Mr Advani and the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, will be “illegal” immigration of Indians into the UK, besides cross-border terrorism and deployment of Indian troops in Iraq.

Mr Advani will meet Mr Blair at 10 Downing Street at 10.30 am. tomorrow. The same afternoon, the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Mr David Blunkett, will host a lunch in honour of Mr Advani at the House of Commons. Later in the evening, members of the Overseas Friends of the BJP will call on Mr Advani in the suite of the Deputy Prime Minister.

A reception was today held by the Indian High Commissioner in honour of Mr Advani.

After meeting the British media on Tuesday, Mr Advani will meet the British Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Prescott, over lunch and later address a press conference. Thereafter, Mr Advani meets the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Jack Straw. There will be a joint media briefing and at night, Mr Advani will interact with Members of the British Parliament.

On board an Air-India flight from New York to London, Mr Advani told media persons that India expected better understanding and appreciation from Britain of India’s perception of Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism and the continuing infiltration into the Kashmir valley from across the border despite the April 18 peace initiative of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Mr Advani will impress upon Mr Blair to tell the USA that it would also be in the interest of Pakistan to respond positively to the peace gestures shown by India and put an immediate stop to the killing of innocent persons in Kashmir. “An end to terrorism and restoring peace is in as much the interest of India as Pakistan. This will happen if cross-border terrorism stops at once”, he emphasised.

In fact, what Mr Advani told the US President George Bush in Washington has been endorsed by the outgoing US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert Blackwill. He had stated at New Delhi that cross-border terrorism was still continuing. The Deputy Prime Minister had told Mr Bush that despite the hand of friendship offered by Mr Vajpayee there were neither any signs of reciprocal gestures shown by Pakistan nor had  cross-border infiltration decreased.

On the contrary, the Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf, had talked of ‘Kargil-type war’ again. “I only hope Gen. Musharraf has not made that statement. If he has made, it is very unfortunate”, said Mr Advani. He had telephonic talks with Mr Vajpayee and briefed him on the discussions and consultations that he had with the US leaders.

Mr Advani is “disappointed” with both the USA and Britain over their perception of Pakistan and the way India looked at the situation being next door to a ‘tough’ neighbour. The USA believed that Gen Musharraf was the ‘best bet’ given the circumstances in which he supported the USA in its war against the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Also at this point of time any replacement or exerting too much pressure on Gen Musharraf would be “counter-productive” to the US interests.  India, however, disagrees with this assessment of Washington. India wants that when Mr Bush meets Gen. Musharraf, the USA should ask him to show results, as ground reality and truth was different from what Pakistani President would try and portray to the USA during his visit. “There has to be conducive atmosphere for negotiating peace, which must not be made a hostage to resolution of differences between India and Pakistan. Gen Musharraf must show results to the international community of his promised action against terrorist outfits”, he added.

It is in this backdrop that Mr Advani will take up these and related issue with Mr Blair tomorrow. In fact, on an earlier occasion, too, Mr Blair had responded positively to India’s request to ban some Pakistan-backed terrorist outfits, like the Jaish-e-Mohammad. “The purpose of my visit to the USA and Britain is not very different from the earlier interaction, except that at that time, it had come after September 11 and December 13.”

The last year’s January 6, New Delhi declaration, signed by Mr Vajpayee and Mr Blair clearly mentions that India and Britain were partners in peace and security, as terrorism was an attack on human rights and civil liberties of the citizens of the world. The two had pledged to work together in support of United Nations peace-keeping operations. This commitment is now facing a litmus test, as India and the USA have agreed to disagree on sending the troops to Iraq despite there being a UN Resolution. A US defence team is visiting New Delhi tomorrow to hold talks on the subject.

Both India and Britain will discuss the issue of illegal migration. Ethnic minorities make up for 8 per cent of the population in Britain as per 2001 census. These minorities include ‘mixed race people’ and number about 4.6 million out of a total of 58.7 million. The Indian community there now numbers over 1.3 million and overall, is the most prosperous of the major ethnic communities.

Since human trafficking and illegal migration has made the two sit up, thus, besides illegal migration, defence cooperation, combating terrorism and reining in Pakistan and, of course, mutual trade and development issues will also figure during the talks with British leaders.


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