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Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
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Interview

'America Is Keen To Carry Out Its Role'

In his interview on CNN Live Today, aired, January 10, 2002, the home minister sounds positive about the result of his meeting with President Bush.

'America Is Keen To Carry Out Its Role'
'America Is Keen To Carry Out Its Role'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
JUDY Woodruff , CNN ANCHOR: President Bush today met with India's home minister and assured him that the United States will continue to encourage Pakistan to take further measures against those suspected of carrying out acts of terror against India. Tensions between India and Pakistan have worsened since last month's attack on India's parliament, an incident that Indian officials blame on Pakistani-based militants.
 

Woodruff And joining us now, the gentleman who met with President Bush today, and with the secretary of state. He is  India's home minister, Lal K. Advani .

Mr. Minister, thank you very much for being with us. Let me start with a very general question. How much of a threat do you believe the state of Pakistan poses to your country?

L.K. Advani: The question seems to suggest that it's a threat -- one-time threat at a given point of time. Our problem, in respect of Pakistan is, that for the last nearly 20 years, Pakistan has been promoting terrorism inside India. The first 10 years, the focus was mainly on Punjab. The last 10 years it has been mainly on Kashmir.

But in both these decades, it has been spread all over the country. And so it's a war of a different kind. We have faced wars from Pakistan twice earlier. But this is a war of a different kind. And which war, either way, reached its climax when two organizations, based in Pakistan, sent terrorists to attack the Indian parliament.

Woodruff And now the United States is saying -- we just heard from the secretary of state. He is saying we'd like Pakistan to do more, but he is he giving them credit. He said they've arrested some of the leaders of these groups, they've closed down some offices, they've spoken out. Do you give them any credit? Do you give President Musharraf any credit?

Advani We publicly said when they arrested the leaders of the LeT and JeM, the two organizations supposed to be responsible for the attack on the parliament, when they were arrested, we said it's a move in the right direction. But much more needs to be done. We said this because Pakistan's first reaction after the attack on parliament was that this is an event engineered by Indians, or India's own agencies. That was the first reaction.

The second reaction was that they have named these two organizations only in order to malign the freedom movement in Kashmir. And I believe that had it not been for Washington's pressure, they would not have done even done the little that they have done. And therefore, we suspect that it is only a tactical move. And a real change of heart is still missing.

Woodruff And, do you believe that Washington, that the U.S. government, the Bush administration, is putting enough pressure, from your perspective, on Pakistan now, to get them to do what you want?

Advani In reply to this question, I can only say that my discussions with the leaders of the U.S. government yesterday and today do give me a kind of assurance that whatever needs to be done by the United States in order to carry out the promise it gave to the whole world after 11 September, that we are not concerned merely with those who are responsible for attack on WTC, or on Pentagon, but they are concerned with eliminating terrorism wherever it is in the world.

Yesterday and today have given me a measure of assurance that the American government does wish to stand by this promise.

Woodruff A measure of assurance. And yet are you concerned that, because the U.S. has grown closer to Pakistan as a result of the necessary cooperation in the war in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban, that the U.S. may be eventually reluctant to push as much as India would like?

Advani That's not my feeling.

In fact, when immediately after the 11th of September, America consciously wooed Pakistan, I told the American ambassador in New Delhi that this is the right approach. Geography dictates it. Pure strategy dictates it. And the need to ensure that the battle against terrorism does not become a battle between two religions, that also makes it imperative that an Islamic country like Pakistan should be on the side of those who are waging a battle against international terrorism.

And, therefore, I see no objection to what was done in the case of Pakistan earlier, though I do believe that, if terrorism is a crime in respect of Taliban, terrorism is a crime in respect of India also.

Woodruff So you are looking for more from the U.S. at this point.

Advani Yes.

And I believe, after yesterday and today's discussions, that America is keen to carry out its role, in as far as the pronouncements are concerned.

Woodruff All right. And you sound like you are more assured of that after this visit.

Advani I hope so.

Woodruff All right, India's home minister, Lal K. Advani , we thank you very much for joining us.

Advani Thank you, Judy.

Woodruff Thank you, sir. We appreciate your being here.

(Courtesy, the Embassy of India in Washington)

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