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Pak preparing for fourth defeat: PM

June 18, 2003 04:44 IST

Hitting out at Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf over his recent statement that a Kargil-like incident could not be ruled out, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Tuesday said Islamabad was preparing for a fourth defeat in its proxy war against India.

"Musharraf has reminded us of Kargil, but he should remember Pakistan was defeated thrice in wars and is now preparing for a fourth defeat," Vajpayee said at a rally in tribal-dominated Mandla district, about 100km from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

Vajpayee said Pakistan had changed its method from conventional war and was now resorting to killing of innocent men, women and children.

"What kind of freedom struggle is this?" he asked in an apparent reference to Musharraf's description of militancy in Kashmir valley.

He said India was committed to pursuing the policy of friendship with Pakistan till 'Islamabad realises its importance, but we will not pay the price of friendship with our land'.

The Prime Minister said India was not offering friendship to Pakistan due to any weakness on its part.

"We don't want money to be spent on weapons that is why we are talking of peace," he said adding the money saved could be utilised to remove poverty, unemployment and starvation.

"Weapons are necessary. But one cannot sleep on them. I told Pakistan about it. Their condition is worse than ours," the prime minister said.

Vajpayee also reminded Pakistan that during the Kargil conflict, it (Islamabad) was repeatedly appealing to then US president Bill Clinton to ask India to stop its operation aimed at evicting infiltrators.

"We told them (Pakistan) to take their bodies back (of their soldiers). But even that they disputed," he said.

Referring to the drought situation, the prime minister said the Centre was not discriminating against Congress-ruled governments in the matter of assistance.

At present 12 states were facing drought, he said.

The prime minister said this year the country expects to receive good rains and this would ensure an adequate stock of foodgrains.

He said all predictions that his government would not last its full term had been proved wrong.

On converting forest villages into revenue villages, he said this decision had to taken by state governments. "There is no need for anyone to write love letters to me on the issue."

Vajpayee said other states, including Madhya Pradesh, could emulate Kerala, which had already issued a notification in this regard.

Assembly elections are due in Madhya Pradesh in November this year.

More reports from Madhya Pradesh

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