PM flays attack, tells Pak to shun violence
22 October 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpyee on Monday strongly denounced Pakistan for its attempt to attack Srinagar air base and said that if it does not shun the path of confrontation there can be no further discussions with Pervez Musharraf during his visit to New York next month.“India feels offended by Pakistan’s posture and the latest incident is a setback to our peace efforts with Islamabad, the involvement of which is evident in the attack,” the prime minister said while talking to newsmen here at Raj Bhawan after his hectic day- long schedule in the state capital.In reply to a question he said, “I do not think there is any need for talk if it does not serve any purpose.” But he added that India was open to peace efforts on the pre-condition that Pakistan must stop cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.Reiterating India’s stand on terrorism, the PM said that our view on the issue had been gradually appreciated by the world, including the US, which itself was fighting a war against terrorism. “We too are committed to eliminating terrorism from our soil and for this we are fully prepared,” he said, adding that “we are not to be governed on the issue by America or anybody else.”Probed on what the government planned to do to combat terrorism in Kashmir, Mr Vajpayee said that ‘we have something decisive in our mind but we will not divulge what it is.’Vajpayee said that it was wrong to say that India’s foreign policy was influenced by America. That India joined the world in condemning the attack on World Trade Centre (WTC) should not be misinterpreted, the PM clarified. “We never allow America to have its say in our foreign policy,” the PM said and disclosed that New Delhi had snubbed Washington when it rejected outright its proposal for a compromise and foregoing some of its land during the Kargil conflict.In reply to another question, the PM said India favoured a broad-based popular government minus the Taliban after the end of the war. He also justified defence minister George Fernandes’s statement in which he had held Pakistan responsible for attack on WTC and said that it he did not see anything wrong in it as Taliban was a creation of Pakistan.On the supply of medicines to America, he said it had been done on humanitarian ground. With regard to the exodus of Indians from Bangladesh in the wake of the new government there, the PM said, “We are very much concerned about the issue.” The matter had already been taken up with Bangladesh, he said and hoped that a solution would be found to the problem soon.