''Civilian areas shield PoK terrorist camps''
30 October 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
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 massed 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.He said 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. ''Now Pakistan has again become the cat''s paw for the US to destroy the Frankenstein they jointly fathered,'' the defence minister said. Fernandes said this development was perhaps the most bitter pill to swallow for Pakistan, which used the Taliban to pursue its own nefarious designs in India.Pakistan has been the driving force behind every terrorist action on Indian soil and ''there is trucks-load of evidence to prove that terrorists are recruited, trained, equipped and paid with money raised through narcotics trade by Pakistan through its undercover agencies,'' he said.He referred to the December 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar as a ''joint exercise in terrorism by Pakistan''s ISI and the Taliban.''Stating that Pakistan was trying to undermine India''s national polity not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in North East, he said while activities in Punjab and J&K have been in the public eye internationally, ''the world has had either no time or no inclination - for obvious reasons - to take a note at Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in North Eastern states.''India has been shouting hoarse at Pakistan''s crimes from every global platform including the US.''But no nation thought that a global war will have to be waged against Pakistan or that Pakistan''s leadership should be captured dead or alive, or that India should assemble an international force to bomb terrorist training camps in Pakistan.''No nation could have thought on these lines. And for good reasons,'' Fernandes said.