India Rules Out Military
De-Escalation On Border

From Paul Walker

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - India said on Saturday that its troops massed along the frontier with arch-rival Pakistan would not stand down until there was clear evidence that "terrorism from across its borders" had slowed.
"We sincerely hope that we will achieve our purpose without use of unnecessary force," National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra told an international conference in Munich.
"But it is important -- not only for our national interest, but also for the global campaign against terrorism -- that we should remain firm in our resolve until it produce the desired objective."
The nuclear-capable neighbors, deeply divided over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, have ramped up troops levels along their border since a militant attack on the Indian parliament in December.
New Delhi accuses Islamabad of sponsoring the rebellion against Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir state. Islamabad says it provides only moral and diplomatic support for a self-determination struggle in the province.
"India would like to see concrete evidence of a diminution of terrorism from across its borders before it acts on military de-escalation," Mishra said.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said on Friday that he wanted a meeting with Mishra on the sidelines of the annual global security conference in the southern German city. There was no word on Saturday on whether the two would indeed meet.
Mishra, who is also principal secretary to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, made links between the al Qaeda network, which the United States blames for the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, and terrorism against Indian interests.
In a thinly veiled expression of New Delhi's frustration with Washington's focus on al Qaeda and Afghanistan's Taliban, he said: "We cannot condone terrorism somewhere while condemning it elsewhere because this lenience will boomerang on all of us."
He also suggested that al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who were trapped in Kunduz during the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan may have fled to Kashmir or Pakistan, although he did not specify those destinations by name.
"These are questions of long-term relevance to the international campaign against terrorism," he said. "Anyone who looks at a map of the region would understand why, for India, this is a matter of immediate security concern."
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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