India says no hot pursuit to avoid civilian casualties in PoK
30 October 2001
The Indian Express
New Delhi: India has avoided targeting terrorist training camps in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan to avert innocent casualties as these are located ''around or beside civilian population centres'', Defence Minister George Fernandes said on Tuesday. ''Terrorists live and operate in conditions where armed forces cannot play any role. If they could, the Indian armed forces would have decimated long ago the various terrorist outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir,'' Fernandes said at a seminar on ''The global threat of terror''. The Defence Minister added that India had ''scrupulously avoided'' even targeting the terrorist training camps which are not far from the country''s border with Pakistan because these are located around or beside civilian population centres and any strikes on them will claim the lives of innocent people, including women and children. Referring to the post-September 11 global scenario, Fernandes said it was ''ironic that Pakistan, which has been among the countries that not only harboured terrorists, but took pride in training them to mount attacks in India for over a decade now, has turned out to be the most loyal ally of the US, next only to the UK, in its global action against terrorism. Perhaps there is some sort of poetic justice in this turnaround,'' he said, adding it was the US which collaborated with Pakistan in creating the Taliban militia to fight against the Russians and oust them from Afghanistan.