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May 28, 1999
Propaganda war hots up
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief has said that as a nuclear power his country could meet any threat 'on equal terms'.
''They (the Pakistani nation) feel confident for the first time in their history that, in the eventuality of an armed attack, they will be able to meet it on equal terms,'' Sharief said in an address on the eve of first anniversary of the country's nuclear tests.
Meanwhile, India's acting high commissioner in Islamabad has categorically rejected the 'protest' and the untenable allegations made yesterday evening by a Pakistan foreign ministry official that Indian Air Force planes violated Pakistan's airspace.
A statement of an official spokesman of the Indian external affairs ministry denied any violation whatsoever of the Line of Control by India. ''Our aircraft were flying on our side of the LoC. The spokesman of our ministry of defence has already provided all the facts. Pakistan's action is hostile and provocative, and represents an escalation in this context,'' the statement said.
''It is shameless of Pakistan to speak of violation of the Simla Agreement, considering that Pakistan has been systematically flouting it all these years through its continuous and active sponsorship of cross-border terrorism, artillery shelling and vicious propaganda,'' it said.
The present situation has been created entirely because of Pakistan's provocative activities and it is Pakistan which needs to exercise restraint, the statement said.
Reiterating that India remains committed to the Lahore Declaration, it said Pakistan must realise that there could be no stable relations in the face of its provocation.
Stating that such activities, including the present intrusion by Pakistan-aided infiltrators was totally unacceptable, it said ''all necessary action will be taken by our armed forces to put an end to this intrusion.''
''We are resolute in our determination to complete this task. Pakistan will be responsible for any escalation,'' the statement said.
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