Attempt to sabotage J&K polls must be resisted: Russia
17 July 2002
NEW DELHI: Russia has said that any attempt to sabotage or undermine the coming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir must be resisted. During discussions at the fifth meeting of the India-Russia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan today, the two countries agreed that there could not be any double standards in the fight against terrorism and the world cannot distinguish between good and bad terrorists. The Foreign Office spokeswoman told presspersons this evening that the issue of the presence of American troops in Afghanistan came up for discussion at the JWG. The Russian assessment of the presence of American troops was shared with the Indian side, she maintained. The spokeswoman said the United States and Russia were in touch with each other in this regard. Asked about the Indian view of the presence of American troops in Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said: ''I believe there is a certain purpose, a certain context which has dictated the American presence in Afghanistan. And that context... refers to the war against terrorism, the rooting out of terrorist forces... in the region.'' ''The Government of India shares the concerns of the international community about the need to permanently eliminate the infrastructure of terrorism in our region... there is common ground that we share on such issues,'' she maintained. The spokeswoman said Russia and India agreed that while September 11 was an important landmark, the phenomenon of terrorism did not come into existence on that date. For its part, the Indian side conveyed New Delhi''s continuing concerns on cross-border terrorism and the need to put a permanent end to this menace. Opposing any attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue, Russia favoured a bilateral solution to the problems between India and Pakistan. On Afghanistan, New Delhi and Moscow noted positively the continuing implementation of the Bonn Agreement and convening of the Loya Jirga and looked forward to the consolidation of political security and reconstruction processes in Afghanistan. While the Russian delegation was led by the First Deputy Foreign Minister, Vyachslav Trubnikov, the Indian side was headed by the Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal. Mr. Trubnikov also called on the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, the External Affairs Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.