World reluctant to recognise Kashmiris as terrorists: Blair
9 September 2005
The News International
New Delhi: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in comments broadcast on Friday that the world had been reluctant to recognise the insurgency in Indian-ruled Kashmir as terrorism. 'Personally I have always condemned terrorism in respect of Kashmir,' Blair told NDTV television in an interview recorded while he was in New Delhi Thursday for talks with Indian leaders. 'But I think there has been a reluctance - not confined to the UK alone incidentally - to see this terrorism for what it is ... but the world has woken up.' New Delhi has since 1989 battled an insurgency in held Kashmir in which at least 44,000 people have been killed. India accuses Pakistan of aiding, arming and funding the militants and of allowing them to set up training bases on Pakistani soil. Islamabad denies the claims and charges that Indian troops are perpetrating wide-scale human rights abuses in held Kashmir. Blair said: 'Terrorism is not only an obstacle to progress - and that is true whether it is Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, wherever - The fact is, all it does is cause hatred and make dialogue impossible. 'And therefore my very strong view is that we should never compromise with it, we should never justify it, and we should realise that it is in our common interest to defeat it.' Blair's comments came just days ahead of the anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks and just over two months after the July 7 attacks in London in which four suicide bombers killed 56 people. Terrorism was a steady theme running through Blair's two-day stopover in India after a visit to China.