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December 29, 1999
Hijacking: Diplomat Denies India Seeks Security Council Intervention
Prakash M Swamy at the United Nations
India is not seeking the United Nations Security Council's intervention to resolve the hijacking crisis involving the Indian Airlines Airbus in Kandahar. A senior Indian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied reports that New Delhi had called for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue.
"Where is the question of discussion, against whom? Is the Taleban a part of the UN system?" he asked. "No meeting of the Security Council is being planned."
Indian officials also said the Taleban has been working against India. Spokespersons for the Taleban were not available for comment.
The diplomat said a senior diplomat at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN is likely to fly to Afghanistan to be a part of the Indian negotiating team.
"We are keeping diplomats informed about the latest development," said the senior diplomat.
"Most of them gave a patient hearing and said they would refer the matter to their capitals. The envoys acknowledged our principled stand on unified global action against terrorism. We had time and again raised the issue of global terrorism at the Security Council," he said.
The UN imposed aviation and financial sanctions on November 14 against Afghanistan's Taleban rulers for failing to surrender Osama bin Laden for trial on charges of plotting the bombing of US embassies in Africa last year.
The sanctions were imposed by the Security Council on October 15 with a 30-day deadline for compliance. India worked enthusiastically to bring in the sanctions. "We know that the Taleban, being a sidekick of Pakistan, is working against us," a senior Indian diplomat said.
In fact, the Government of India is aware that the Taleban representative in New York is in touch with Kashmiri and Sikh separatist groups operating from Washington and New York. There were reports that former Pakistani ambassador to Washington Syed Riaz Hussain Kokhar, who was shunted out of Washington, had acted as a go-between in bringing the Taleban representative and various Kashmiri and Sikh separatist groups in the US.
A diplomat of a neighboring country, who also asked for anonymity, said the hijacking seems to be the handiwork of the Taleban or of an organization allied with the Taleban.
"It could be bin Laden or it could be somebody who is a fundamentalist responding to a statement made against India by bin Laden," the diplomat said. "This could cause a dent in India's relationship with Nepal and stall the progress of SAARC which has its headquarters in Katmandu."
"We expected the Taleban to do something to take revenge at India soon after the sanctions as India was actively involved in moving the matter," he said.
India has been at the forefront in taking international steps to stamp out terrorism. It ratified, as the eighth member, the Convention on suppression of terrorist bombings. The International Convention for the suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted by a resolution of the UN General Assembly on December 15, 1997 is considered the most recent international convention adopted in the UN to prevent and eradicate international terrorism.
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