December 2000 News

End cross-border terrorism, Britain tells Pakistan

15 December 2000
The Hindu
Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Britain has said that Pakistan must stop encouraging cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and create a climate in which a meaningful dialogue with India is possible. Echoing the Indian position, the British Government has stated that an end to Pakistan-inspired cross-border violence is a precondition for ''serious'' negotiations on the Kashmir issue. In an unambiguous support for the Indian stand, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Mr. Peter Hain, told the House of Commons that there was ''still far too much evidence'' that cross-border terrorism ''is actively encouraged and, indeed, at times sponsored by agencies and elements closely aligned with the Pakistani authorities.'' He said the Kargil incident itself was ''inspired'' by Pakistan. Expressing the British Government''s concern, Mr. Hain said: ''It is very important that (cross-border terrorism) stops, then we shall have a climate in which serious negotiations and dialogue can create a more hopeful situation.'' He was replying to questions relating to India''s unilateral announcement of ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan''s move on ''maximum military restraint'' along the Line of Control. Mr. Hain said during his recent visit to India he had welcomed India''s decision and called upon militants and ''those supporting them'' to respond positively. ''I have also welcomed Pakistan''s subsequent announcement that its forces at the Line of Control will observe maximum restraint,'' he told members adding that the British Government hoped these developments would create a ''climate that encourages dialogue between the Indian and Pakistani Governments.''


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