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May 31, 1999
'War-like' situation on LoC: PM
Describing the situation on the Line of Control as 'war-like', Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today said Pakistan-supported infiltration in the Kargil sector amounted to 'a blatant attempt to redefine' the border between the two countries.
''This is not merely an intrusion. This is a kind of an attack... an attempt to change the borders,'' the prime minister said addressing a meeting of traders at his residence in New Delhi.
In a hard-hitting speech, he said he had told the Pakistani leaders that his apprehension was that when he was visiting Lahore on a 'peace mission' in February, Pakistan was preparing for war with India.
''We don't wish to grab anybody's land but at the same time we will not allow anyone to occupy our territory,'' Vajpayee asserted.
India, he said, was committed to peace. ''But the pursuit of peace cannot be one-sided... We have vowed to work for peace but we have also taken the pledge to defend our country.''
He said he had made it clear to Pakistan that it was necessary for the intruders, some of whom were foreigners, to go back if relations between the two countries were to improve. ''They (intruders) must vacate our territory... It is good if Pakistan calls them back otherwise we will force them to go back.''
Paying handsome tributes to the armed forces, he said, ''Our soldiers are fighting to keep our borders secure. What do these mercenaries want? These mercenaries wanted to capture our territory under the cover of darkness.''
He said a pertinent question was rightly being asked as to how this infiltration took place. ''The boundary was such that it was impossible to put one soldier at every step. Even otherwise, the Kargil sector had been relatively peaceful. They (Pakistan) used to set up patrolling posts and we also used to do the same. The LoC was demarcated under the Simla agreement and it had hitherto been respected,'' he added.
He said the intruders had never before attempted to occupy Indian territory. They used to come and indulge in killings of innocent people, he said.
He expressed happiness that the whole nation stood united in this hour of crisis. ''In the last 50 years, whenever the country has been attacked, we have boldly faced the challenge. People have forgotten their differences and stood as one.''
He noted that some criticism was being voiced but that was expected in a democracy. ''However, we will have to keep the morale of our soldiers high and must not fall prey to rumours.''
He also appealed to the media to fulfil their responsibilities in a manner expected of them.
He said the government was fully alert and would thwart any attempt to create trouble in the country. ''Our enemies will want to create trouble but we will not allow them to succeed in their evil designs,'' he added.
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