November 2002 News

Very minor reduction in infiltration: Fernandes

12 November 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Bangalore: Defence Minister George Fernandes said today there has been ''a very minor reduction'' in the level of infiltration from Pakistan and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir after the Assembly elections in the border State. He, however, maintained that tension was not easing between India and Pakistan, saying Islamabad ''is continuing its negative and hostile attitude'' towards India. ''There has been a very minor reduction in the level of infiltration and in the level of internal terrorism,'' Fernandes told reporters after attending a function here. Asked if that meant that tension between Islamabad and New Delhi was easing, Fernandes said he would not say that. ''Itís a question of attitude. Pakistanís attitude towards India is one of hostility. Essentially, that attitude has always been a negative one,'' he said. On the release of some Hurriyat Conference and JKLF leaders by Jammu and Kashmir Government, Fernandes said there was nothing wrong with it, saying ''whatís in state Governmentís power to do, they will continue to do. There is nothing wrong in that.'' He noted that the current J & K Government had during election campaign made certain commitments that they would ask Army and other security forces to leave and so on. ''Itís up to the state Government. Army gets into any State when the State Government seeks its help,'' Fernandes said, noting that the J & K Government was disbanding some of the outfits belonging to the State. ''It canít disband any Central force,'' he pointed out. Asked whether the Centre would initiate a dialogue with the new Government, Fernandes said the states and Union Government interact on various issues and itís a routine matter. ''In Jammu and Kashmir, there is room for continued interaction between the State Government and Union Government,'' he added.(


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