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June 23, 1999
India 'must be ready for war'
Sharath Pradhan in Lucknow
Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani today said that India must be prepared for a 'full-fledged war with Pakistan'.
Describing the Kargil situation as an ''open aggression" that was comparable to an "undeclared war'', he termed Pakistan as a "rogue state".
"It would be prudent on the part of India to be prepared for war," he told a crowded press conference. This was necessary, he said, because "in Pakistan there are several centres of power and it was difficult to say whether the intrusion across the Line of Control was started with or without the consent of the government there."
He said that under the circumstances Pakistan had ''proved itself an irresponsible, and therefore dangerous, state."
Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief's statement that there could be "more Kargils" along the border, Advani said, "If their act remains limited to Kargil, it may pass off as a stupid misadventure; but if the Pakistan government plans more Kargils then let me tell them they will have to pay a stupendous price for it.
"I have travelled extensively across the country and gauged the mood of the people, in whom there is a visible sense of outrage over what Pakistan has dared to do." He said Indian soldiers too had expressed similar feelings.
Advani said the current situation in Kargil was quite akin to the war over Kashmir in 1947 where Pakistani troops in the garb of tribals almost reached Srinagar.
"A ceasefire was finally called on 1st January 1948, but Pakistan has then launched a proxy war over the past 12-13 years. Today once again Pakistan has attempted to alter the Line of Control. It was no longer a proxy war but open aggression," he said.
"Perhaps Pakistan thought it could repeat the 1947 act and get international opinion, including that of the United Nations, behind them. But the plan has failed this time as the whole world is castigating Pakistan," he said, adding, "By talking about more Kargils, Pakistan has inadvertently admitted its direct involvement."
Advani said Pakistan had also miscalculated the Indian democratic system.
"Apparently they thought that because of the nature of our government, there would be differences of opinion over Kargil; but I must appreciate the co-operation extended by almost the entire Opposition on this issue," he said.
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