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June 8, 1999
Strikes to continue, so will talks
The situation in Kargil in the context of the broader question of India-Pakistan relations was discussed at the highest level in the government today and it was decided that all necessary means should be employed to repulse the Pakistani intrusion and the country must be prepared for all eventualities.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee chaired a joint meeting of the National Security Council, the strategic policy group and the National Security Advisory Board where it was also decided that India would continue its composite dialogue with Pakistan and that the Lahore Declaration would be sustained in the search for a comprehensive improvement in relations with Pakistan.
Besides the prime minister, the meeting was attended by the home minister, defence minister, finance minister and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. The three service chiefs were in attendance as members of the strategic policy group.
An External Affairs Ministry press release later said the government would make more active efforts at educating public opinion both in India and abroad about the country having been a target of a ten-year terrorist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir and other states. Also, it would highlight the forbearance it had shown so far in the face of grave provocation.
Vajpayee told the meeting that this process of combined consultations would be continued.
The press release said the meeting undertook an in-depth and wide-ranging analysis of the motivations and politico-strategic objectives of the current Pakistani intrusion, in both the short term and long term perspective. A clear understanding of Pakistan's aims emerged from the discussions. Pakistan's recent official pronouncements reveal an inclination towards adventurism, the consequences of which shall be entirely Pakistan's responsibility.
The release said the discussions revealed complete unanimity that the combined army-air force operations in Kargil were the right response to the Pakistani armed incursion across the LoC. There was also complete agreement that Pakistani attempts to question the Line of Control, and to violate the Shimla Agreement were completely unacceptable.
The meeting also noted that the international community had shown greater understanding of India's concerns. The situation called for more intensive diplomacy so as to neutralise Pakistan's efforts to mislead and disinform public opinion.
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