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Indian Government Official Spokesperson's Briefing

Transcript of Press Briefing by the Official Spokesperson

May 26, 2002

Ms. Rao: Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

The latest missile firing by Pakistan - I thought we would give you our reaction. We have already said earlier that we are not impressed by these missile antics, particularly when all that is demonstrated is borrowed or imported ability. What is important is for the international community to understand clearly the actual mindset of the Pakistani leadership.

Q: Any reaction to President Pervez Musharraf’s warning that Pakistan would not hesitate to cross the LoC?
A: I was asked what is our reaction to the statement by Gen. Musharraf in the Washington Post. Yet another provocative statement from Pakistan and another clear indication of refusing to see the writing on the wall and to understand where the need for action lies. Action is required from Pakistan on stopping cross-border terrorism, in dealing with infiltration, the activities of terrorist groups and responding to the call made by India, to the demands made by India and to the call made by a large number of leaders of the international community. This again leads us to reiterate what we have been saying all along, i.e., there is a very real necessity for the international community to understand clearly the actual mindset of the Pakistani leadership. Well, Pakistani statements of this sort, that I was just asked to respond to, are quite a giveaway, you will understand.

Q: Is India willing to give time to Pakistan to rule over terrorism?
A: I would refer you to our Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon at the inauguration of the Rohtang tunnel. I think our position has been made perfectly clear and as has been noted by a number of world leaders, our patience has been stretched beyond breaking point.

Q: You spoke of the actual mindset of Pakistani leadership. Can you elaborate on that?
A: Well, I don’t need to elaborate on it, I would only refer you to the vast body of research opinion which is available in the public domain about Pakistan’s clandestine acquisition of missile technology, of nuclear know-how. So, I don’t need to detail that to you as you are already aware of it. This is a point which is accepted everywhere.

Q: You spoke about borrowed technology can you elaborate on that?
A: Well, I think, you know what this points to is that the actions of Pakistan fit into the international community’s worst nightmare scenarios of State-sponsored terrorist activity armed with ballistic missile technology and nuclear weaponry.

Q: When is Jack Straw arriving?
A: I don’t have details as yet but certainly he is expected here within the next few days.

Q: Do you see greater understanding of the Indian point of view on the current situation in the Western World?
A: Well, I think there is a growing acknowledgement, an increasing awareness of the point of view that has been articulated by the Government of India and recognition of our very real concerns about what the issue is, where the problem lies and why we need immediate action to act against terrorism.

Q: What are the things that you feel Pakistan should do more?
A: I believe that much more needs to be done to emphasize upon Pakistan that it is time it took meaningful and concrete action against terrorism, against cross-border terrorism, against infiltration and that it needs to move away from its long held policy of compulsive, obsessive hostility towards India and the Indian people.

Q: (inaudible)
A: I think I put that in context very clearly yesterday. President Putin referred to his forthcoming visit to Almaty and he hoped that he would meet with our Prime Minister and that he would separately meet with the Pakistani President and that through these meetings tension in the region would be deescalated. I would like to draw your attention to the statement made by the Russian Foreign Office on the 24th of May which was clear, which was explicit and stated unequivocally that there is need for action by Pakistan to check infiltration, to deal with cross-border terrorism and that if tensions have to go down in our region, this is where action should be and this is where steps should be taken, if tensions are to be reduced. So, the onus is really on Pakistan and I believe our friends in the international community fully realize that.

Q: (inaudible)
A: Well, just now I talked about understanding the mindset of the Pakistani leadership - the fact that Pakistan has been a sponsor of terrorism, that it is time Pakistan mended its ways, that the tension in this region has been created by Pakistani actions, by Pakistani irresponsibility and that India is genuinely skeptical about the assurances made by Pakistan that it is going to deal with terrorism, because we have not seen any action on the ground that would corroborate those assurances. And we will continue to impress that upon the international community. We have been counseled about patience for very long now and we had been assured that there would be change, there would be a transformation in Pakistan’s attitude and very little or nothing has happened. So, our skepticism has only been reinforced by events of the last few months. We have had a lot of irresponsible statements from Pakistan, which would only indicate the kind of political and military brinkmanship that is being espoused, that is being followed by the Pakistani leadership.

Thank you.

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