Thursday, Jun 06, 2002
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By Atul Aneja
Addressing a press conference hours before his departure to New Delhi after attending the 16-nation Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Tuesday Mr. Vajpayee said that instead of involving a third country, India and Pakistan could jointly patrol their borders as had been accepted by them on an earlier occasion. "Joint patrolling had already been accepted (in the late 1980s). Both countries can revive it. The terrain is mountainous and it is difficult for third countries to carry out verification,'' he said. Joint patrolling could be undertaken to identify infiltration and steps taken to counter it.
Pointing out that India had got unprecedented support on the need for Pakistan to curb infiltration across the borders, Mr. Vajpayee said he preferred a diplomatic solution to end cross-border terrorism. International pressure appeared to be working on Pakistan, as was evident from its recent statements on the issue. Global pressure on Islamabad could acquire an economic dimension as well, and the international community had already started discussing the possibility. International activism against terror appeared to be fulfilling the objective of the Agra summit, which was to seek an end to cross-border terrorism.
Spelling out a road map for a rapprochement with Pakistan, Mr. Vajpayee said de-escalation on the borders would follow after India had satisfied itself that Pakistan had implemented its pledge on curbing infiltration. India was ready for a dialogue if Pakistan agreed to drop terrorism as an instrument of state policy. But it would put the Pakistani pledge on countering terrorism to test before reciprocating.
The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, had told the Russian President, Vladimir Putin whom he met on Tuesday that Islamabad was looking at the possibilities of extraditing individuals on the list of 20 fugitives that New Delhi had handed over, Mr. Vajpayee said. India was ready to consider any list of fugitives that Pakistan might present to it subsequently.
Referring to his talks with the Chinese President, Jiang Zemin, he said both the sides had discussed the question of terrorism. The Government sources said Beijing and New Delhi were looking at giving more teeth to the draft convention on terrorism, being discussed in the United Nations, by incorporating a provision for imposing financial curbs on countries involved in promoting terrorism.
Making a special mention of the Almaty Act adopted by the CICA, which describes separatism as ``one of the main threats and challenges to the security and stability, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of a state,'' Mr. Vajpayee said it would contribute significantly to the international debate on the ways and means to counter the menace of global extremism.
With a view to engaging entire Central Asia, India has proposed a multi-dimensional "Silk Route Initiative'' that will cover all the countries in the region.
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