January 2004 News

Infiltration has come down, says Advani

16 January 2004
The Dawn

NEW DELHI: Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani on Friday said there has been a perceptible fall in the level of militant infiltration in Kashmir and was optimistic on prospects for talks. Mr Advani is scheduled to have talks with Kashmiri separatists next week. 'While cross-border 'terrorism and infiltration of terrorists' into India has continued over the years, the level of infiltration and the number of violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have perceptibly come down in recent months,' he said while addressing state police chiefs here. Mr Advani, who also holds the home ministry portfolio, said the 'record number' of tourists and pilgrims in Kashmir was indicative of increasing normality in the region. 'The government has always been open to the resolution of all conflicts through dialogue and peaceful means,' he added. 'It was in this spirit that the invitation for talks has been extended to the Hurriyat leaders, who, I am confident, would make sincere efforts to end the era of violence in Jammu and Kashmir.' Mr Advani said that he is certain the negotiations will help end 15-year bloody freedom fight. '(The) outcome will be good. I have no doubt about it,' he was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India. But Mr Advani, considered a hard-liner in Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's cabinet, cautioned that the Kashmiri leaders would have to be sincere in efforts to end the bloodshed. 'I am confident (the Hurriyat leaders) would make serious efforts to end the era of violence,' Mr Advani said. Hurriyat leaders have previously rejected talks because India had only assigned lower-ranking officials to deal with them. But with Mr Advani's participation, it is hoped his leadership can help steer the conflict toward peace. Kashmir's largest separatist alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has been invited by New Delhi for talks on January 22, even as India and Pakistan prepare to restart a stalled dialogue next month. Mr Advani expressed the hope that the reduction of tensions between the two South Asian nuclear neighbours, particularly after a November ceasefire along the LoC would further improve the situation in the coming months. Terming the Vajpayee-Musharraf joint statement in Islamabad as 'historic', Mr Advani called for a joint fight against 'terrorism' in the region. 'What is required a joint stake in fighting terrorism,' he said. Mr Advani expressed the hope that the reduction of tensions between the two South Asian nuclear rivals, particularly after a November ceasefire along the disputed border in Kashmir, would further improve the situation in the coming months. Terming the Vajpayee-Musharraf joint statement in Islamabad as 'historic', Mr Advani called for a joint fight against 'terrorism' in the region. 'What is required a joint stake in fighting terrorism,' he said. Mr Advani said that in the past six years, 13,230 'terrorists' have been killed across India, 2,3751 arrested and 13,038 had surrendered. During the same period, 187 terrorist modules' have been busted in the country leading to the arrest of 632 people, he said. The minister reiterated his call for a comprehensive global fight against 'terrorism'. 'There are no good or bad terrorists; a terrorist anywhere is a terrorist everywhere,' he said.-AFP-AP

 

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