June 2002 News

PM proposes joint patrolling by Indo-Pak forces On Borders

5 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Almaty: Rejecting as ''impractical'' Pakistanís suggestion for monitoring of the Line of Control by international observers, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today instead proposed joint patrolling by Indian and Pakistani forces to check infiltration of militants in Jammu and Kashmir. ''We had earlier agreed to joint patrolling and the proposal can be considered afresh. It can be accepted,'' Vajpayee told reporters winding up of his four-day visit to Kazakhstan where he attended a 16-nation security summit. Asked if India would agree to verification by a third party like the United States as suggested by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the Prime Minister said this was ''impractical and there is no need for it.'' ''If Pakistan decides against encouraging infiltration, we are ready for a joint patrolling mechanism''. Asserting that infiltration was taking place even now, the Vajpayee ruled out de-esclation and resumption of talks till there was correct verification of end to cross-border terrorism and dismantling of terrorist camps in Pakistan. This, he said, was necessary to create a conducive atmosphere for resumption of dialogue. ''If Musharrafís promises to stop cross-border terrorism and infiltration are translated on the ground, we are ready to take further steps towards de-escalation of tensions,'' the Prime Minister said. Refuting Pakistanís claim that infiltration and cross-border terorism had ended, Vajpayee said, ''we have information that infiltration is on and terorrist camps are functioning across the border. As per one assessment, over 3,000 terrorists are active in these camps.'' The incidents which were happening even during the CICA summit ''clearly disprove Pakistanís claim that terrorist violence has stopped,'' he said, adding ''such claims should be verified and investigated on the ground to see that their promises to stop terrorism are fulfilled.'' Asserting that Pakistan was under tremendous international pressure to stop cross-border terrorism, Vajpayee, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin last night, said India was never opposed to a dialogue with Pakistan but first infiltration must end and terrorist camps there be dismantled. ''We had to deploy troops along the border to stop infiltration. If Pakistan keeps its word and the situation on the ground is verified, then we can take steps towards de- escalation,'' he said. Asked if Indiaís proposal on joint patrolling could be construed as succumbing to world pressure, he said ''international pressure is part of the process. If we can achieve our objectives through this, we will be happy. We think that Pakistan is under its own public pressure also.'' However, he asserted that international pressure did not mean India was showing any weakness. Hinting at the possibility of economic sanctions against Pakistan by international community, Vajpayee said ''there is also a thinking that economic and financial aid to Pakistan be stopped. Those countries which have been helping Pakistan economically, are now ready to consider this.'' Recalling that the Agra summit had failed because Islamabad was then not willing to accept existence of cross-border terrorism, Vajpayee said, ''now Pakistan is claiming that corss-border terrorism has ended and there is no activity along the LoC. We have to test this claim.'' Asked if the situation along the border was war-like, he said ''the war-like situation can be changed and avenues for economic cooperation opened.'' ''But if the situation does not improve, India has its options and India has the capacity to bear any eventuality,'' he said. ''The CICA summit has been a step in the right direction of stopping confrontation and proceeding on the path of cooperation,'' Vajpayee added. To a question on Indiaís demand for handing over of 20 terrorists and criminals by Pakistan, Vajpayee said ''let them not only consider it but also act on it.'' ''We have heard that they (Pakistan) have a list of persons wanted by them (who are living in India). As per our understanding, such a list should not exist. However, we are ready to consider any list if they give it to us,'' Vajpayee said. Terming his bilateral talks with Putin and Jiang as ''highly fruitful,'' he said he had discussed the situation in South Asia with them and both the leaders had strongly opposed terorrism in all its forms. Vajpayee said he also had bilateral discussions with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Turkey and he was told by them that terrorism has no no place in a civilised world. In future, these nations and India would prepare plans to strengthen bilateral ties on all issues including the menace of terrorism, he said. Emphasising the importance of the documents adopted by CICA summit, the Prime Minister said the declaration on ''eliminating terrorism and promoting dialogue among civilisations'' was a major step forward in the fight to end terrorism''. Describing the document as a ''significant step forward'' in the fight against terrorism, he said separatism has been adopted as a weapon to promote terrorism which the CICA summit has strongly disapproved of. He took the opportunity at the summit to convey that India and the world community had so far not seen the results of Pakistanís assurances on containing terrorists activities in the name of Kashmir on the ground. ''I have clearly conveyed that India is ready for dialogue with Pakistan on all issues including the issue of J and K when cross- border terrorism ends,'' Vajpayee said. (PTI)


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