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May 28, 1999
Farooq rules out war with Pak
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah has ruled out a war with Pakistan.
"The neighbour will not commit such a blunder in the wake of the air strikes to clear the intrusion in Kargil and Drass sectors," he said, adding that "India will not attack any country."
Dr Abdullah felt "the action by the air force had become necessary to clear the area of intruders." He believed the intruders were "mostly Pakistan army regulars."
"Pakistan pushes mercenaries to create violence in Jammu and Kashmir and to scuttle peace and the normalisation process in the state," he told a group of students from Pune, currently touring the valley. Pakistan, he said, had fought three wars with India, but "achieved nothing."
"India has no expansionist designs and wants good relations with its neighbours," Dr Abdullah said. "The Indian army's actions in Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka bear testimony to our sincerity as the forces returned back immediately after restoring order in these countries," he added.
Referring to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Lahore, the chief minister felt, "it was a major stride to forge a lasting friendship with Pakistan." He, however, regretted that "the neighbour has not responded positively."
Lauding the army's role in defending the nation's borders, he said, "they have done a Herculean job by laying road communication in difficult and remote areas and providing many facilities to the civilian population living there. Defending one's borders and checking infiltration is a challenge they face valiantly."
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