Pakistan has to admit support for ultras in Valley: Omar
31 July 2001
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The newly appointed Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah made his debut today discussing a region he has extensively toured this year: south-east Asia. After accompanying the Prime Minister on visits to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia this year, Omar speaks with ease about the country’s relations with the region. The meeting with journalists was actually called by K.C. Pant, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission after his return from discussions at the ASEAN Regional Forum and Mekong Ganga Cooperation projects in Vietnam. Omar came to inaugurate his new charge. But given the combination of Pant and Omar, Kashmir and cross-border terrorism were more likely subjects than ASEAN. India will continue to raise the issue of cross border terrorism with Pakistan as this has been the reason for unrest in the sub-continent, both said. ‘‘Cross border terrorism will always be an issue for discussion with Pakistan which it has to settle at its end,’’ said Omar. ‘‘Pakistan by making futile efforts for drumming support over Kashmir will never be able to disown the responsibility for providing support to terrorists from its soil,’’ he added. Pant said he had brought up the issue of countries sponsoring terrorism at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Hanoi. According to Omar, India would continue to raise this. ‘‘The world will have to evolve a composite strategy to defeat the menace of international terrorism and to address these concerns. We have circulated a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which is currently under discussion in the United Nations. Early finalisation of the convention would show a comprehensive determination to strengthen international co-operation in the fight against terrorism,’’ he informed. On the proposed ASEAN-India summit which remains stalled, Pant said there was an acknowledgement within ASEAN of the benefits of moving the dialogue to a higher plane. Without stating a clear time-table for the ASEAN-India summit, Omar pointed out it was only ‘‘a matter of time’’ before it happened. ‘‘It did come up that if India has a summit with EU, which it does, then ASEAN must follow suit,’’ said Omar. But the problem stalling the summit was that ASEAN is still trying to ‘‘grapple’’ with ASEAN plus 3 (US, China, Japan).