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June 20, 1999
Pakistan should be taught a lesson, says Advani
Ramesh Bhan in Jammu
Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani today said the conflict in Kargil had been contained to a great extent and it is only a matter of time before the last of the infiltrators is weeded out.
Addressing the press in Jammu after a day's tour of the border areas of Poonch, Rajouri and Khour in Akhnoor, he said he could not predict whether the conflict would erupt into a "full-fledged war", but stressed that the government is trying to keep it localised.
But he suggested that India should be prepared for any eventuality. "My experience says Pakistan will not step up its misadventure. But prudence demands that India should be prepared."
Advani asserted that Pakistan needs to be "taught a lesson" for its misadventure. "If Pakistan will not withdraw from Kargil, we will take appropriate action at the appropriate time," he warned.
He said India has triumphed diplomatically and Pakistan stands exposed as an aggressor.
Later addressing prominent citizens, including former members of Parliament, state government ministers and bureaucrats, he said the problem arose because of the "multiplicity of authority" in Pakistan.
Both countries can live happily as friends. But if there is unanimity on this issue in India, there are differences in Pakistan. "The political leadership in Pakistan is riding a tiger and cannot dismount," he quipped.
He said Pakistan, which had been taking liberties with India since 1947, had for the first time failed to get international support for its action.
He said Islamabad made three miscalculations. It misjudged the Vajpayee government's will and ability to act because of its caretaker role. It thought the Opposition would not support the government. And it had hoped the international community would rush to intervene.
Advani said Pakistan began implementing its game plan even as the peace talks were on in Lahore. It wanted to occupy the heights around Kargil and gain control over the Srinagar-Leh highway as it feared that the Line of Control would be converted into an international border.
He said that India would henceforth be strict with Pakistan even while extending a hand of friendship.
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