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US call for dialogue with Pakistan inappropriate: India

 New Delhi, March 25, IRNA -- Rejecting as 'inappropriate' the renewed 
US call for dialogue with Pakistan, India on Tuesday regretted that   
the continued sponsorship of cross-border terrorism by Islamabad was  
being 'overlooked'.                                                   
    "If dialogue per se is more critical than combating international 
terrorism with all necessary means, then one can legitimately ask why 
both in Afghanistan and Iraq military action instead of dialogue has  
been resorted to," India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej 
Sarna said when asked about remarks made by US State Department       
spokesman Richard Boucher in Washington.                              
    India's MEA spokesman said 'we see the call for dialogue by the   
US State Department spokesman as inappropriate in the context of the  
heinous militant crime in Jammu and Kashmir'.                         
    He said 'it regrettably shifts the focus from the basic problem   
between India and Pakistan'. "The problem is not lack of dialogue but 
continued sponsorship of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan which is  
being overlooked."                                                    
    Asked whether the Indian government saw any linkage between the   
stand taken by it on Iraq and stepped-up militant violence in Jammu   
and Kashmir, the spokesman said 'there has been continuing violence   
which has gone on for a long period'.                                 
    "There have been countless acts of militancy over the last nearly 
two decades and there is a pattern in the targets chosen and method   
adopted," he said, adding the militant activity is continuing because 
of the presence of militant groups with support from across the       
borders.                                                              
    Boucher said 'violence will not solve Kashmir's problems'.        
"Dialogue remains a critical element in the normalization of          
relations between India and Pakistan."                                
    Boucher said 'the cowardly attack appears aimed at disrupting the 
bold efforts of the Kashmir state government led by Mufti Mohammed    
Sayeed to restore peace'.                                             
    Meanwhile, India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Tuesday 
assured Kashmiri Pandits staying in Kashmir Valley that all steps will
be taken to ensure that attacks on the community will not be          
allowed to recur.                                                     
    The government will also soon come out with a 'rehabilitation     
policy', including a financial package for the Kashmiri migrants,     
displaced more than a decade back due to militancy in the Valley,     
Vajpayee was quoted as assuring a Kashmiri Pandit delegation that     
called on him here.                                                   
    "Vajpayee assured us that after the return of Deputy Prime        
Minister L K Advani, on a visit to yesterday's massacre site, the     
matter will be taken up with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti   
Sayeed and the government will ensure that in future such incidents   
against Kashmiri Pandits will not be repeated," New Delhi BJP         
President Madan Lal Khurana told reporters here.                      
    The prime minister also assured the delegation that the government
would soon consider a policy for rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, 
Khurana said.                                                         
    The delegation expressed its concern over the security of Pandits 
staying in the Valley in the wake of Monday's massacre.               
    Khurana said 'we requested the prime minister for proper          
rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants and also demanded adequate        
security for the Pandits staying in the Valley at present'.           
    Presenting a memorandum demanding an inquiry into attacks on      
Pandits, the delegation, comprising head of BJP cell on Kashmir C L   
Gadoo, also rejected the government's proposal of creating 'special   
secure places' for migrants in the Valley.                            
/BH/AR                                                                
End                                                                   

last Update Tuesday, 25-Mar-2003 12:32:13 PST
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