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May 27, 1999
India, Pak will not go to war: Abdullah
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today said India and Pakistan would not commit the blunder of going to war in the wake of Indian air strikes to flush out Pakistan-backed infiltrators in the Kargil sector.
India would not attack any country, he said. The air strikes had become necessary to clear the Indian positions occupied by the intruders, he said.
Pakistan pushes mercenaries to create violence in Jammu and Kashmir and to scuttle the process of peace and normalisation in the state, he added.
He was replying to questions by a group of students from Pune, currently on a tour of the valley.
He said Pakistan has fought three wars with India but achieved nothing.
''In fact we returned them captured territory in 1965 following the Tashkent agreement between then Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri and his Pakistani counterpart Mohammad Ayub Khan.''
He said India has no expansionist designs and wants good relations with neighbours. ''The Indian Army action in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives bear testimony to our sincerity, as the forces returned immediately after restoring order.''
The recent visit by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore was a major stride in forging lasting friendship with Pakistan. He regretted that the neighbour had not responded positively.
He hoped the dialogue to improve relations between the two countries would continue, he said.
The Congress today said that the priority of the government should be to flush out the infiltrators and activate diplomatic channels to defuse the situation in Kargil.
Congress foreign relations department chairman K Natwar Singh said the country could not compromise on national security, sovereignty and integrity.
However, the government should take the nation into confidence about the emerging situation and reports that two Indian planes were shot down, to dispel any misinformation campaign.
The government should tell the people why and how such a situation had happened. After everything possible was done to throw out the infiltrators, the government should identify those who were responsible for negligence and inaction leading to the present situation.
The party has sought time from President K R Narayanan to convey its anxieties and concerns regarding Kargil, he said.
Former defence minister and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav fully supported Indian armed forces' action against Pakistan-backed infiltrators. He hoped that the country's frontiers would be fully protected under the round the clock vigil of the armed forces.
Addressing the media, he asserted that even if an inch of the country's soil was threatened, the full might of the armed forces must be used. ''I am fully confident that our forces would not permit any sort of encroachment even on an inch of the country's land,'' he said.
In reply to a question, he said it proved that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Pakistan trip was a damp squib.
In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party president Nara Chandrababu Naidu condemned the attempt by Pakistan to send infiltrators into the Indian territory.
He urged the Union government to take strong action to flush out the infiltrators.
He said, "We are ready to make any sacrifice to protect the country's honour and territorial integrity.''
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