January 2001 News

George unhappy with Pak reaction to ceasefire

20 January 2001
The Indian Express

Mumbai: Defence Minister George Fernandes today said that he was disappointed with the manner in which the Pakistani leadership was treating the ceasefire agreement in J&K. In an informal chat with the press during the inauguration of a defence residential complex here today, Fernandes added that the ceasefire will largely depend on the response and attitude of Pakistan. 'There have been a few violations by the militants, but the ceasefire at the LoC is largely effective,' he said and added India would adopt a 'watch and wait' policy till January 26 regarding the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir to gauge Pakistan's reaction to the peace initiative launched by the Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. 'The ceasefire is on till January 26. We shall wait till then to see how Pakistan reacts to it,' Fernandes told reporters after the inauguration of a residential complex for the Defence Accounts Department at Kanjur Marg in north-east Mumbai today. In a clear reference to the recent attacks by militants at the Red Fort and Srinagar airport, the defence minister remarked that Pakistan was unwilling to rein in those who were let lose. 'Till the other day they were talking about jehad and supporting the commitment to provide training and equipment to the terrorists,' he commented. 'Now that we have taken the initiative, hope it will take us at some point of time to sit on a table and start talking,' he stated. Replying to a question regarding the Hurriyat, Fernandes referred to a press interview of Salauddin, head of Hizbul Mujaheeden in Pakistan, who had stated that no purpose would be served by the Hurriyat going to Pakistan. 'However, this could be his own personal view and not that of Pakistan leadership,' Fernandes said adding that India's home ministry was looking into the issue. On the test firing of Agni II missile coinciding with the visit of Chinese leader Li Peng to the country, he said there was no deliberate attempt to coincide the events nor did India wish to send any message to China with the test firing. Replying to a query regarding the issue of the border problem figuring during the talks between the Chinese dignitaries and India during Li's brief visit, Fernandes said several issues were taken up for discussion and the border issue might have figured during the deliberations. The modest gathering was also touched when the Minister, dressed in simple khadi clothes, served brunch to those present at the function.


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