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Wednesday, May 29, 2002

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`Musharraf evades issue of promoting terrorism'

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The External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, addressing a press conference in the Capital on Tuesday.


INDIA today angrily brushed aside the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf's televised address to the nation on Monday night, terming it as "both disappointing and dangerous''.

"Disappointing, as it merely repeats some earlier assurances which remain unfulfilled till today, and dangerous because through belligerent posturing, tension has been added to, not reduced.''

Stating this to set the tone for the press conference convened here today to reveal India's "studied response'' to Gen Musharraf's address, the Minister for External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, regretted that the General had evaded "altogether the central issue of Pakistan's promotion of terrorism. Unfortunately, he "engaged instead in an offensive and tasteless revilement of India''.

"A great pity this, for it contradicts his expressed desire for peace and mocks the expectations of most of the international community by flouting current international commitments against terrorism,'' Mr Singh said, while reading out a prepared statement, and added that "General Musharraf has disappointingly spelt out no measures for stopping this lethal export of terrorism from Pakistan''. "Mere verbal denials, about the Line of Control (LoC) are untenable, for they run against facts on the ground," he said, reacting to Gen Musharraf's assertion that there was no infiltration from beyond the LoC into India.

In an obvious reference to those nations — without naming them — which have been advising India to "exercise restraint'', the Minister said: "Let the world recognise that today the epicentre of international terrorism is located in Pakistan. Terrorists targeting not just India but other countries too, receive support from State structures within Pakistan. The current war against terrorism will not be won decisively until their base camps inside Pakistan are closed permanently.''

Noting that India will, nevertheless, reciprocate Gen Musharraf's desire voiced for peace, Mr Singh made it clear that it was in the General's "hands to attain it. Let him simply fulfil the assurances that he has himself given all these months''.

And, in the meantime — till he does it — "the Government of India will continue to take such measures as are necessary," he said.

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