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July 22, 1999
We need a plan to tackle Pak: Fernandes
Defence Minister George Fernandes has said India should take a firm decision on a plan to pre-empt Pakistan designs and send the message that it was not willing any more to accept Islamabad's double talk.
''You cannot talk about peace and then create a situation of conflict. A Pakistani minister has gone on record saying his government will continue to encourage intrusions. A government which says it will not allow India to remain in peace cannot be tolerated,'' he said addressing airmen at the Avantipur air base in Jammu and Kashmir, from where planes used to take off for the Kargil operations.
He said except for a few places where there were still some skirmishes, the Kargil conflict was over. But now Pakistan was indulging in terrorism in places life Poonch, Rajouri and Doda.
''Once and for all Pakistan must get the message that India will not accept this kind of a behaviour. We have to come out with a plan to stop them.
''India could no longer take an attitude that it will face problems caused by Pakistan as and when they surfaced. For 27 years that had been the case but after Kargil it was just not acceptable as it was well known that the Pak army was fully involved in it.''
The minister, who will visit the Kargil sector today, said India could not afford to initiate the peace process if the proxy war in Kashmir and incidents like Kargil continued.
''The only solution left now was to negate their designs with a plan and the government will have to soon take a decision on that,'' he emphasised.
He praised the Indian Air Force for the role it had played in the Kargil conflict. He said the Pakistan air force had tested the IAF's defence preparedness during the past two months but had withdrawn when it realised India's air power and readiness.
He said Pakistan had also miscalculated the IAF's potential to make damaging strikes in such a difficult terrain.
Also, the IAF made an immense contribution to the Indian Army's march ahead by softening targets.
Later, he flew to Srinagar and visited the injured at the army base hospital there.
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