Terrorist camps across the border not targeted now: Advani
19 October 2001
NEW DELHI: While ruling out the possibility of aiming at terrorists training camps across the border ''at this point of time'', the Union Home Minister, Mr LK Advani, today asserted that the ''pro-active'' policy against terrorists would continue . ''No, we are not aiming at terrorists training camps in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir at this point of time. We are looking forward to this global battle against terrorism and we want to make it a success,'' Mr. Advani said at a press conference. ''If one attacks you, it is perfectly legitimate under international law to exercise our right of hot pursuit. At this moment we are not considering it,'' he said in reply to a question at the Foreign Correspondents'' Club here. Asserting that India would firmly deal with the menace of terrorism, Mr. Advani said that continuation of the ''pro- active'' policy would mean not looking for terrorists to strike but going all out to see wherever they were and take action against them. In his view, terrorists had been unnerved due to the ''remarkable success'' of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir in identifying and eliminating militants. He said that keenness from across the border to infiltrate more armed and trained terrorists had increased and some exchanges of fire had taken place on border in Jammu and Kashmir. Without mincing words, Mr. Advani said that there had been no problem in Jammu and Kashmir for the past so many years till Pakistan faced defeat in three wars with India. ''It was then that it resolved to undertake a proxy-war. It has terrorism as its principal plank and wanted to give an impression that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir in the initial stages was a rebellion. But all that dried out in two years, then it started sending mercenaries as infiltrators,'' he said. Accusing Pakistan of launching a disinformation campaign focussed on Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Advani said that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir had not witnessed any elections and people enjoyed no civil liberties there. ''In any way, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was not the doing of the people of the State. They want to live in peace. Tourism which was the mainstay of their earnings has been destroyed. If Pakistan thought that terrorism can serve to drive a wedge, it was a mistaken notion,'' he said. He said the international climate created against terrorism would help India in its long-drawn campaign against the scourge. Asked if India got any assurance from the U.S. Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, that Pakistan which was a part of the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism did not provide a safe sanctuary to terrorists and hijackers, he said: ''We have taken note of whatever Gen. Powell has been saying. We understand that U.S. was keen to have Pakistan on its side. Geography and strategy dictate it.'' Earlier, in his opening remarks, Mr. Advani said the world community would have to look beyond the current campaign to succeed in its ultimate stated objective of striking at the historical, ideological, political and operational root of terrorism. He recalled that the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, had raised the issue of cross-border terrorism prominently in his talks with the Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, at the Agra summit. He reiterated that it would be India''s task to fight and defeat any brand of terrorism directed at it with a ''firm hand.'' He said there was ample intelligence and evidence to show that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was the creation of the ISI of Pakistan and the ISI had also been the ''planner, instigator and supporter of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India.'' Referring to utterances of Osama bin Laden and others associated with the Al-Qaeda network, Mr. Advani said that their maximalist goal was to dissolve the sovereignty and freedom of individual nations. ''What is at work behind Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist organisations is a dangerous mindset that seeks to fundamentally redefine the premises and principles of the present world order. It challenges not only the sovereignty of individual nations, but also the universally cherished concepts like secularism, pluralism and individual freedom.''