September 2001 News

US eye on J-K, will gun for terrorists later: Blackwill

26 September 2001
The Indian Express
SONIA TRIKHA

New Delhi: THE United States today stressed that Kashmir is on the list of regions where terrorism must be rooted but that is not the priority area right now. US ambassador Robert Blackwill did not define what terrorism means in the context of Kashmir except to quote Condoleezza Rice that ‘‘there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists, there are only terrorists’’. ‘‘We need to address terrorism everywhere, but not at the same time. Al Qaeda is the first instance,’’ he said. He admitted that Kashmir was on the list of places affected by terrorism as has been spelt out by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, however, the US was at the moment preoccupied with its objective to ‘‘end the terrorism networks in Afghanistan and the export of terrorism from there’’. ‘‘In this, the US needs Pakistan’s support and the importance of stability in Pakistan is obvious,’’ said Blackwill. He said although democracy remained a desirable objective in Pakistan for the US, at the moment it was ‘‘preoccupied with Musharraf’s ability to deliver what he promised’’. The subtext is that Musharraf’s position must remain strong to fulfil his word and everything else would have to follow that. This includes putting Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohamed on the list of banned terrorist organisations whose worldwide assets would be frozen along with the 27 others on the list released yesterday by the US. ‘‘It is clear in the US that this is a work-in-progress. There’s going to be an evolution of that list,’’ said Blackwill. Dismissing criticism of US ignoring India’s concerns on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, he said ‘‘US is determined to treat South Asia in a non-hyphenated way. We are treating US-India relationship separate from any other relationship’’. Clarifying that the US had not asked for any military cooperation from India but intelligence was a major area of collaboration at this stage, he praised India for its ‘‘unprecedented cooperation in the fight against terrorism’’. He described India-US relations in various ways as ‘‘unprecedented’’, ‘‘unrecognisable’’ and ‘‘transformed’’ in the post-September 11 world. India and US can now collaborate on the basis of democratic values. ‘‘We will still have differences. They will be on strategy and tactics, but not on objectives,’’ said Blackwill. Minister for External Affairs and Defence Jaswant Singh will be in Washington on October 2, for talks with Powell and Donald Rumsfeld and initiate discussions on the post- sanctions military-to-military cooperation with the US, said Blackwill.

 

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