Test Of Ceasefire Is In Checking Infiltration'
26 November 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: As India and Pakistan stood on the threshold of a defining moment tonight following a ceasefire agreement effective from midnight, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said here today that peace moves 'strengthen India's credentials with the world community that India wants peace.' Advani, who arrived in Jabalpur to address public meetings for BJP candidates, told a group of mediapersons that there is no let-up in cross-border terrorism. In reply to a question, Advani said there is 'no evidence of Pakistan having abandoned terrorism. It continues unabated. There have been several attempts at infiltration (of terrorists into J-K) during the past two months. In September alone, 200 terrorists were killed in the state, which is an all-time high (record).' On the face of it, there seems to be a contradiction in India's stand on dialogue and the continuing peace initiatives by both New Delhi and Islamabad. India's stated position is that an end to cross-border terrorism is a pre-requisite for peace dialogue with Pakistan. However, at the same time, there are unilateral peace initiatives either by Prime Minister Vajpayee or by Pak leaders. While the rest of the world may be cheering over the ceasefire deal, Advani's stress on the issue of cross-border terrorism without any adulatory reference to the ceasefire implies that actual peace would elude the two countries unless they thrash out the real issues. When asked about the proposed dialogue with the All Party Hurriyat Conference, Advani said: 'I am looking forward to the dialogue with the hope that it would be useful.' Defence Minister George Fernandes told reporters at Raipur: 'There are enough reasons to believe the ceasefire could take the two countries to a final solution as it was implemented after a serious thought.' An agency report quoted J-K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed having said: 'There could not be a better Id gift for the people of the state.' Meanwhile, no firing incident was reported from anywhere along the 1,126-km India-Pakistan border in J-K. An Army spokesman said: 'No firing incident has been reported from anywhere along the LoC, the international border and the actual ground position line in Siachen.' He said the Army has been told not to target Pakistani troops even if there are attempts by militants to cross the border. However, there would be no let-up in anti-insurgency operations in J- K, the spokesman added.