‘No international monitoring of LoC’
11 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Hours ahead of US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s visit, India today opposed any move for a helicopter-borne international force to monitor infiltration of militants into Jammu and Kashmir saying joint patrolling with Pakistan would be the ''best'' way. ''There is nothing to suggest that this is a proposal that has been made. Government’s views on the issue of patrolling, verification and monitoring along the LoC have been very well articulated,'' an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said. She was responding to a questreport published in ‘The Times’ in London that Rumsfeld, who arrives here tonight, would propose to India an airborne international monitoring mechanism of the LoC. Recalling the suggestion of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for joint monitoring of LoC by India and Pakistan, the spokesperson said ''this would be the best way since our defence forces know the terrain very well.'' ''And, therefore, the best and most efficacious way of monitoring activities along the LoC can be done by the two countries,'' she said. Asked whether India had officially informed Islamabad about its decision to allow overflight by Pakistani aircraft, the spokeperson said Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner here J A Jilani was told by the External Affairs Ministry last evening about it. Rumsfeld is scheduled to hold tomorrow detailed discussions on the Indo-Pak situation with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Home Minister L K Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra. The US Defence Secretary, who had visited India last November, would leave for Pakistan tomorrow evening. Appreciating the US efforts to reduce Indo-Pak tension, the spokesperson said the visits by American emissaries had helped both New Delhi and Washington to better understand the development and assess the situation. Observing that Indo-US military relations have been a reflection of ''quality and content'', she said India would sensitise the Bush administration about the evolving situation along the LoC during Rumsfeld’s visit. Stressing that India wanted the terrorist tap to be turned off once and for all by Pakistan, she said it was ''too early'' to give an assessment about the ground realities regarding infiltration. ''There is need to monitor the situation. It is too early to give any conclusive assessment at this time,'' the spokesperson said. On British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s statement that there is a ''clear link'' between Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and three major militant outfits, the spokesperson said ''his statement points out how well established is reality''. She asserted that Pakistan has become the epicentre of terrorist activities especially after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. ''The linkages between ISI and terrorist groups is extensively documented,'' she added.