PM rejects LoC as International Border
16 September 2002
New York: In a veiled reference to Pakistan, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has asked the international community to act firmly against countries that abet terrorism, while at the same time rejecting conversion of the Line of Control in J&K into the International Border between India and Pakistan. “The United Nations and the international community need to take action against those who are associated with terrorism ... and shelter, finance and train terrorists,” Mr Vajpayee said, without naming any country in particular. He was speaking at the conclusion of his five-day visit to the USA, during which he addressed the 57th UN General Assembly session and met US President George Bush and a host of other leaders. Addressing a press conference shortly before leaving for home, Mr Vajpayee said there was no question of converting the LoC into the border and that there was no discussion on the issue with Mr Bush. Mr Vajpayee said though India received strong support from world leaders, including Mr Bush, in its fight against terrorism, it would have to depend on itself to wipe out the scourge from J&K and other parts of the country. Mr Vajpayee said Mr Bush had expressed full commitment for India’s fight against terrorism and had condemned killings in J&K aimed at sabotaging the polls. The US President had also welcomed the elections in the state, and hoped these would help facilitate talks between India and Pakistan, he added. Significantly, Mr Vajpayee said, Mr Bush had for the first time not emphasised on resumption of talks with Pakistan. Every leader he had met here had condemned terrorist attacks in J&K and elsewhere in India, Mr Vajpayee said. “I discussed with all these leaders the imperative need for democracies to cooperate in rooting out terrorism effectively and without discrimination.” Mr Vajpayee, who met Mr Bush a day after the 9-11 anniversary, said “terrorism can show its ugly face any day, any time and in any form.” The disappearance of Al- Qaida men needs to be addressed urgently as there is information that they are regrouping again, he stressed. The Prime Minister was accompanied by external affairs minister Mr Yashwant Sinha and national security adviser Mr Brajesh Mishra at the press conference. Indo-US relations have moved beyond being Pakistan-centric, he said, and now focussed on trade and cooperation in scientific, defence and civilian nuclear space technology.