Infiltration into J&K continuing: US
28 October 2002
The Times of India
NEW DELHI: The United States said on Tuesday continued infiltration of militants in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan was a matter of ''considerable concern'' and must be stopped and nudged India and Pakistan to work on ''new opportunities'' to ease tension and resume their stalled dialogue. India has maintained that Pakistan should first put a permanent end to cross-border terrorism before it can go in for dialogue. ''But we feel this could take place simultaneously. This is something for the Indian Government to mull over,'' Richard N Haass, Director (Policy Planning Staff) in the US State Department told reporters here. Haass, who travels to Islamabad on the next leg of his visit to the region, said ''the issue (of cross-border terrorism) remains a matter of considerable concern to us''. It will figure during his discussions in Pakistan, he said. ''Clearly infiltration across the Line of Control is continuing.... we want to see it stopped,'' he said. Terming elections in Jammu and Kashmir and in Pakistan as ''positive developments'', he said these had brought about ''new possibilities'' and ''new opportunities'' for the two sides to make use of. Asked whether the US favoured Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee going to Pakistan for the Saarc Summit, he said, ''This is a decision for the Prime Minister and the Government of India to take'' after determining whether it would be constructive to do so. ''I don''t want to give any specific advice.'' The United States ''clearly supports any efforts for greater interaction'' between the two governments in diplomatic, economic, cultural and other spheres, he said.