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May 18, 1998


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Advani tells Pak to roll back anti-India policy, or else...

In a stern warning to Pakistan, Home Minister L K Advani today asked Islamabad to ''roll back its anti-India policy'' immediately, adding that otherwise ''it will prove costly''.

Addressing the media along with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah after a high-level meeting to review the security situation in the state, the home minister said his government will deal with ''Pakistan's hostile designs and activities firmly and strongly''.

Apprehending a stepping up of hostile activities both in Kashmir and elsewhere by Pakistan, Advani said it would be good for that country to join India in the common pursuit of peace and prosperity in the Indian sub-continent. ''Any other course will be futile and costly for Pakistan,'' he added.

He said India's bold and decisive steps to become a nuclear weapons state has brought about a 'qualitatively new stage' in Indo-Pak relations, particularly in finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem.

''It signifies, even while adhering to the principle of no first strike, India is resolved to deal firmly with Pakistan's hostile activities in Kashmir,'' he added.

Asked whether India will go in for destroying militant training camps across the border, Advani evaded a direct reply, saying, ''These are matters to be looked into.'' He, however, confirmed the presence of Afghan mercenaries in the Kashmir valley, and pointed out that a majority of those killed or apprehended were foreign mercenaries.

The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister George Fernandes and J and K Governor G C Saxena.

A follow-up meeting will be held to deal with developmental issues and resettlement of migrants, he said, adding that Dr Abdullah has suggested that this meeting be held in Srinagar.

The home minister said the issue of border fencing was also discussed at the meeting

Referring to the reinduction of more troops into the state to fight militancy, Advani said there would be redeployment of security forces.

It was decided to modernise the state police force and the Central paramilitary forces and also upgrade their weaponry. The existing communication and transport system would also be improved. He said the focus of the meeting was on dealing with militancy effectively.

The minister said, since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has remained unreconciled to the non-theocratic and non-denominational principle on which Indian nationhood rested.

Having tasted three defeats, the Pakistani rulers decided to mount a prolonged proxy war on Kashmir by sending trained mercenaries into the state. India has demonstrated its resolve in Kashmir and has already succeeded in turning the tide in favour of peace, normalcy and development in the state.

The home minister also announced the formation of a high-level committee to suggest recommendations for effectively dealing with militancy in the state. The committee will be headed by the special secretary in the home ministry.

Asked whether the government has any plan to take back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir from Islamabad, he said Parliament had passed a resolution to this effect some time back. "It would not happen suddenly, these are mainly long-term objectives."

He said Pakistan's reaction to India's nuclear bomb has once again confirmed Islamabad's perpetual obsession with the two-nation theory and all the falsification it entails. He said Pakistanis are blind to the fact that Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and Dr Abdullah are working hand in hand to affirm our national stand on Kashmir and also to restore peace, normalcy and development in that state.


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