September 2006 News

EU and India share onus to combat terror: Azad

20 September 2006
Indo-Asian News Service

Brussels: The European Union and India have enormous responsibility to promote peace and prosperity and combat terrorism all over the world, says Ghulam Nabi Azad, chief minister of the troubled north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.'Both the EU and India have suffered immensely from terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of these terrorist attacks,' Azad told a gathering of diplomats, journalists and officials here.Azad, who is on a two-day visit to the EU capital, was invited by Brussels-based think-tank European Institute for Asian Studies to speak on 'EU - India: Pluralism and Diversity'.He is also expected to meet European Parliament (EP) President Josep Borrell, chair of EP's foreign relations committee Elmar Brok and other MEPs during his visit. Commenting on EU diversity and the shared values of democracy, pluralism and human rights, Azad said, 'We see EU strategic partnership with India as a remarkable recognition of our modern pluralist state.'He stressed that the Kashmir problem could only be solved bilaterally by Pakistan and India without third party intervention. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had addressed the European parliament during his visit to Brussels last week and called for it to resolve the Kashmir issue.Azad said Pakistan was trying to internationalise the Kashmir solution because it had 'a lot of explaining to do' about its connection to terror organisations. According to him, militants in the region were aided, abetted and supported by organisations in Pakistan, the Pakistani intelligence service ISI and the army.The chief minister claimed that the Pakistani army had vested interests in not wanting a solution to Kashmir. 'The army is thriving on this dispute,' he said, adding that there was a direct link between the increased insurgency by militants in the summer of 2006 and the support by the ISI and the army.'After the ceasefire in 2003, infiltration came down because the army and ISI stopped the infiltration,' Azad said.To a question about Musharraf's role, he said: 'There are people in Pakistan who are not in tune with Musharraf's thinking. Musharraf is not too political but he is straightforward man that India can do business with.'Azad explained that negotiations between the two countries had a come a long way since 1989 and referred to the successful bus service between the two sides of the divided Kashmir. Custom and immigration measures have already been put in place to start trade.Azad told INEP agency that the recent talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf in Havana were very positive.


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