July 2004 News

US rejects Indian claims

4 July 2004
The Dawn
Anwar Iqbal

Washington DC: A US government report on terrorism lists 51 'cross-border' attacks in Kashmir in 2003, several times less than 807 attacks claimed by India. The US report also puts the number of deaths in these attacks as less than 100, much less than the 477 deaths India claims. The report also does not blame Pakistan for ordering the attacks, as India says, but it does speak of 'foreign-based' terrorists operating in the occupied Kashmir, and in the appendix identifies Pakistan as the location of groups like Lashkar-i-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. The report also does not mention Kashmir as the 'area of operation' of Pakistan-based groups, as demanded by the pro-Indian American lawmakers. When questioned about the report, a US official said it was hard for them to judge 'who precisely is the guilty party' in Kashmir. 'We have no way of independently finding out the facts,' he said. Unlike Pakistan, India does not allow international observers to visit the occupied territory. All 51 attacks in Kashmir mentioned in the new report were not mentioned in the original report published in April. The report indirectly depicts the US policy towards the Sub-continent where Washington is trying to maintain good relations with both India and Pakistan and avoid taking sides on issues that may annoy either. Careful not to make look India a state plagued by terrorism, the report focuses mainly on Kashmir, ignoring the large number of terrorist attacks by leftist guerrillas in Andhra Pradesh in the south and northeastern states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

 

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