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June 5, 1999
Pak wants to 'prolong conflict till September'
Congress foreign affairs department chairman K Natwar Singh said Pakistan would try to prolong the conflict in Kargil till September this year.
''We want them (intruders) to get out fast, but they won't go out so easily, they are well prepared. They have taken big guns up the hills, built helipads at a height of 15000-16000 feet... They want this to continue till September. In September, the United Nations General Assembly is going to meet and Pakistan will raise the issue there. Even now, if the government wants, (ministers) should stop making statements and get down to serious work,'' he said on Star TV.
Asked why the West has been supportive of India, he said, ''The reason is France and Britain have not allowed Kosovo-Serbia issue to go before the Security Council. If today they allow the Kargil issue, demand for taking up Serbia will crop up.''
He charged the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of 'lowering its guard' after signing the Lahore declaration. ''I told (External Affairs Minister) Jaswant Singh (in Parliament), this is merely an extension of the Simla agreement and nothing will come out of it... We want good relations, but (I told him) please do not lower your guard. Their mistake was they got carried away in the euphoria after Lahore and lowered their guard.
''The Congress has a right to question as to how the situation has reached this point. If Parliament were to be in session, several questions would have been raised. It happens in every democracy.''
He attacked Defence Minister George Fernandes on his penchant for making statements on television.
''Samajh nahin aata ki pradhan mantri George Fernandes se kyon nahin kahte ki aap apni jaban par lagam lagaiye, daftar mein baithiye, kisi aur ka kam hai yeh TV par jaane ka, defence minister ka kaam nahin hai, China ka defence minister nahin jaata TV par, hamne nahin dekha ki Pak ka defence minister gaya hai TV par. (I don't understand why the PM does not restrain George Fernandes. It is someone else's work to appear on television, not the defence minister's. The Chinese defence minister does not appear on television, we have not seen Pakistan's defence minister on television.)''
He attributed the Kargil flare-up to the fact that Pakistan had become a nuclear power.
''We made (nuclear) preparations for 40 years, and they (the Bharatiya Janata Party) just came and pushed the button. The result was Pakistan and India have attained nuclear parity. We conducted five, they conducted six N-tests. That is why Pakistan is so emboldened that it is flexing its muscles in Kargil... The BJP did not get support for its foreign policy, because last year, for the first time in 51 years, they broke the national consensus on foreign policy.''
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