US not to get entangled in J-K for now
6 October 2001
The Indian Express
New Delhi: BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair today sidestepped blaming Pak-based terrorist outfits for the terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, and according to Jane’s Defence Weekly — to hit the stands on October 10 — the US too has decided that it will ‘‘not allow itself to be caught in the Kashmir dispute’’. Jane’s report, quoting American officials, comes after Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee wrote to US President George W. Bush drawing his attention to a number of Pakistan-based groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad that claimed responsibility for the October 1 attack on Srinagar Assembly. India has also demanded that the Jaish and the Lashkar-e-Toiba be banned and their financial accounts frozen by the international coalition led by the US. But US officials say that the ‘‘definition of terrorism and which groups fit such a definition’’ will come at a later date. This decision to sidestep Pakistan is a direct offshoot of the US alliance with Islamabad in its fight against the Taliban. It is for this reason that ‘‘US has refused to publicly link Pakistan with the October 1 attack in Srinagar’’. This policy of the international coalition was borne out by the fact that Blair refused to say that there was any inherent contradiction in allowing Pakistan, which is part of the problem, to become part of the solution. The US-led coalition, therefore, seems to have decided that Kashmir is an issue that will not immediately find itself in the list of its fight against terrorism. Neither will Pak-based organisations like Jaish and Lashkar that operate in the Valley as long the US needs Islamabad. The extent of US support for Pakistan is evident, according to experts, from the fact that Washington has even refused to accept Islamabad’s complicity in creating the Taliban. Kashmir is too remote from the US consciousness at the moment.