June 2002 News

If US soldiers enter J&K, they’ll never leave: Farooq

18 June 2002
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah said he will be the last man to receive American troops in his state. ''I know that if they come, they will never leave,'' he said and cautioned, ''It becomes difficult to throw them out if an alien army enters a territory.'' Dr Abdullah, who was speaking to reporters here on Tuesday after an investiture ceremony at Raj Bhavan, said Washington wanted to send its troops to Kashmir, a proposal put forth by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld during his recent trip to India and Pakistan. New Delhi rejected it outright knowing well that once in, it would be difficult to send the American troops home, he said. ''Kashmir is a beautiful place where Americans are tourists. They can bring in dollars and spend their vacations so that our economic condition improves, but I don’t want them to bring their guns here,'' he said. Referring to Mr Rumsfeld’s contradictory statements in New Delhi and Islamabad on the presence of the Al Qaeda in Kashmir, Dr Abdullah said Mr Rumsfeld had attempted to keep both the countries happy. Asserting that there is no possibility of a war between India and Pakistan, Dr Abdullah said war hype has already affected the state tremendously, particularly tourism.


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