M A I N   N E W S

Stop terror influx, Russia tells Pak
Backs New Delhi steps to fight menace
M.K. Razdan

Moscow, November 13
Belying Pakistan’s expectations that it will apply “pressure” on India in regard to Jammu and Kashmir, Russia today not only came out in full support of the steps taken by New Delhi to combat international terrorism in the state but also asked Islamabad to stop cross-border infiltration of terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.

“The Russian Federation supported the steps taken by India in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in combating international terrorism,” according to a joint statement issued at the conclusion of Prime Minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s three-day official visit here during which he held extensive talks with President Vladimir Putin on the situation in South Asia, threat posed by terrorism to both countries and on a wide range of other issues.

Remarks attributed to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after his recent talks with Putin had generated speculation in Pakistan that the Russian leader might put pressure on Vajpayee to resume dialogue with Islamabad. Indian sources maintained that there was nothing in the Russian position as enunciated during the summit talks that could cause concern to New Delhi.

The 11-page joint statement, issued as Vajpayee emplaned for an overnight visit to the strategic Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan, leaves no doubt about the stand of Russia which joined India in demanding that Islamabad implement in full assurances to prevent cross-border terrorism and dismantle terrorist infrastructure in Pak-controlled territory as a pre-requisite for a purposeful Indo-Pak dialogue.

Appreciating Vajpayee’s peace initiative and the accompanying measures for people-to-people contacts announced by India, Russia hoped that Pakistan would come out with a positive response to these initiatives, the statement said.

India, in turn, reiterated its support to the measures taken by Russia in Chechnya for the protection of Russia’s territorial integrity and constitutional order, according to the statement.

A significant portion of the statement dealt with the situation in South Asia and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Al Qaida and Taliban.

The joint statement came on top of yesterday’s joint declaration by the two leaders aimed at dealing with global challenges and threats to world security and stability.

After their summit talks yesterday the two sides also signed nine agreements, six of them covering cooperation in space and science and technology sectors and the others relating to business and trade.

On the bilateral front the two sides affirmed the centrality of a vibrant and robust economic and commercial engagement to their strategic partnership.

They emphasised the need to jointly find new ways and means to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations, including promoting investments and trade as well as removing trade barriers.

The two leaders agreed to accord high priority to discussing and formulating policies to encourage and facilitate mutually beneficial interaction between private sectors of the two countries.

Both sides noted with satisfaction the progress being made in expanded bilateral military technical cooperation, including joint research, development and training as well as inter-services exchanges. Such cooperation was mutually beneficial and met the national interests of the two countries besides promoting peace and stability at the regional and international level. — PTI


India decries Pak minister’s remarks

On Board the Prime Minister’s Special Aircraft, November 13
India today lashed out at Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid for his comments on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, describing these as reflective of his “class”.

Reacting to remarks attributed to Mr Rashid that he did not know that Mr Vajpayee was hard of hearing, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters on board the Prime Minister’s flight from Moscow to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, “this shows his class and the class of Pakistani politicians in general.” Later Mr Vajpayee reached Dushanbe on the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Tajikistan. — PTI

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