J&K-Chechnya Quid Pro Quo
13 November 2003
Moscow: Russia today came out in full support of the steps taken by New Delhi to combat international terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir but also asked Islamabad to stop cross-border infiltration of terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. India, in turn, backed to the hilt the Russian Federation's position on Chechnya, one which most Western powers bar France to an extent have been very critical of. 'The Russian Federation supported the steps taken by India in J&K in combating international terrorism,' said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee's three-day official visit here. India, in turn, reiterated its support to the measures taken by Russia in Chechnya for the protection of Russia's territorial integrity and constitutional order, the statement said. This mutual endorsement of each other's position on issues which some Western governments and many human rights groups have been critical of, apart from reinforcing already-strong Indo-Russian ties, also laid to rest speculation that had been doing the rounds after remarks attributed to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf after his recent talks with Mr Putin to the effect that the Russian leader would 'apply pressure' on Mr Vajpayee to resume talks with Islamabad. The 11-page joint statement, issued as Mr Vajpayee emplaned for an overnight visit to Tajikistan, leaves no doubt about the stand of Russia, which joined India in demanding that Islamabad implement in full assurances to prevent cross-border terrorism and dismantle terror infrastructure in PoK as a pre-requisite for a purposeful dialogue.