Stop terrorism, anti-India tirade, Jaswant tells Pak
14 August 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Defence minister Jaswant Singh blamed Pakistan for the recent massacres in Jammu and Kashmir and sought an end to anti-India tirade by that country on Tuesday. He said the Vajpayee government is determined to crush cross-border terrorism at any cost. Addressing the armed forces via an All India Radio broadcast, Mr Singh made it clear to Islamabad that New Delhi’s willingness for a dialogue should not be taken as a sign of weakness. He asserted that the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, civilian massacres in Doda district and killings at Jammu railway station are all proof of Pakistan’s designs. “No religion gives sanction for such inhuman attacks on innocent and defenceless civilians from other religions. We have, therefore, been telling Pakistan again and again that it should refrain from instigating and aiding terrorists,” Mr Singh said in his address. He said that Pakistan’s anti-India policies are clear. “It has been abetting terrorism in our country not only in Jammu and Kashmir, but in other states as well. It will have to stop all this for the peace, prosperity and the well being of the people of the Indian subcontinent. It will also have to stop aiding those opposed to the return of peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Singh said. Reiterating that India wants to resolve all differences with Pakistan through talks, he said, “That is why Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee extended his hand for friendship following which Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf came to India.” “Despite there being no signing of an accord at the Agra summit, the Prime Minister and I have accepted an invitation for a visit to Pakistan. We still believe that Pakistan will appreciate the reality — a new era will begin,” he said. He lauded the troops for taking effective steps to deal with terrorists and helping in development of Jammu and Kashmir. It is only through the relentless pressure built by security forces that separatist groups in the Northeast have come to the negotiating table, he said, adding that militants in the region were surrendering in large numbers and joining the national mainstream. Mr Singh said Indian armed forces are participating in international peace missions in a big way and have created a new image for the country by their exemplary display. Admitting that in the present security scenario, the work and responsibilities of the armed forces has increased, Mr Singh told the troops that the Vajpayee government will ensure that the forces will become modern and have state-of-the-art weaponry to safeguard country’s national interest. “Our drive for armed forces’ modernisation will continue and I assure that money constraints will not be allowed to affect our battle readiness,” the minister said. Mr Singh had a special of praise for establishments like the Border Roads Organisation, Coast Guard and Rashtriya Rifles, saying that no words are enough to laud the contributions by them during Kargil operations. He said that to mark the supreme sacrifices made by officers and jawans for making the Kargil victory possible, the country has constituted two special awards — “Operation Vijay Star for members of the armed forces who took part in the battle and Operation Vijay Medal for those from the armed forces, paramilitary and police forces who came up with ingenious battle plans and their implementation.” Mr Singh also praised the forces made by them during natural calamities particularly during the devastating earthquake in Gujarat.