January 2002 News

Infiltration down due to snow, not Pervez speech

23 January 2002
The Asian Age

New Delhi: Rejecting the US perception that infiltration has reduced on the Line of Control, India said on Tuesday that it was difficult to make a judgment due to heavy snowfall in the region during winter. A senior MEA official said that infiltration generally came down in winter implying that the season was not right to judge the inflow of terrorists from Pakistan. He said heavy snowfall might have led to “reduction in infiltration and cross border terrorism” and it was too early to suggest that it was a consequence of any action taken by Pakistan. The official was responding to the statement made by a senior US official that infiltration had come down at the LoC after Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s address to the nation earlier this month in which he announced several measures to reduce tension in the region. The official said that India was monitoring the situation on the LoC constantly. When asked the criteria of judging the level of infiltration, the official said there were set indicators and one of them could be comparisons of figures with previous months or years. On whether India had thought of a time- frame within which it would assess the action taken by Pakistan, the official said there could not be any time-frame for this purpose but the exercise could be undertaken “only over a period of time.” The official denied that there was any pressure from the US to react to Gen. Musharraf’s speech and resume dialogue. “There is no pressure being put on us... The channels of communication between the two countries are open.” We have reasons to be satisfied with the progress of relations,” the official said. Meanwhile, India said that it has not received any list of terrorists from Pakistan. The senior MEA official said that Islamabad has also not made any request to hold consultations on the list of 20 terrorists handed over by India to Pakistan. On the terrorist attack at the American Centre in Kolkata, the MEA official said investigations were on to track down those involved in the incident. When it was pointed out that the Americans were not accepting India’s version in toto about the attack, the official said Indian and the US officials were in touch on the issue. The US has yet to classify the incident in Kolkata as a terrorist act as was claimed by the Indian officials. The MEA official said that a senior Union home ministry official, who was sent to Kolkata by the Centre, is likely to submit his report to the government on Thursday.


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