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June 9, 1999
Pallone Chides Pakistani Ambassador For Complaining of a Pro-India Tilt At State Dept
A P Kamath in Washington
Asserting that India is "exercising its legitimate right of self-defense" in Kargil, Congressman Frank Pallone said the State Department must continue to acknowledge militants have infiltrated into Kashmir from Pakistan. There has been a change in the State Department's stand on Kashmir recently, Pallone said. He urged the State Department and other Administrations "not bow to Pakistani pressure" and let Islamabad internationalize its bilateral dispute with India over Kashmir.
"It is a strategy we cannot allow to succeed," Pallone (Democrat-New Jersey) said in the House of Representatives on June 7.
In a hard-hitting speech, he questioned Pakistan's claim of providing only "political and moral support" for militants in Kashmir, reiterated lifting of sanctions imposed on Pakistan and India by the Glenn Amendment, and reasserted that Pakistan promotes "regional instability and commits or supports aggression against its neighbors."
And he decried efforts to repeal the Pressler Amendment.
He chided Pakistani ambassador for complaining of what he called a "bias in favor of the Indian position" by the State Department. Pallone, a strong critic of Pakistan, noted that ambassador Riaz Khokar was upset about a statement by State Department spokesman James Rubin in which he described the "Kashmiri Mujahideen" as "infiltrators from Pakistan on India's side of Line of Control." Rubin also added that "inserting of any additional fighters from across the LoC will only increase tension and prolong the fighting."
Pallone said he found "it a little ironic" that Kokhar is complaining about a pro-India tilt in the State Department. "For years the State Department has demonstrated what I call a pro-Pakistani tilt," Pallone continued.
It is "highly inappropriate" for Pakistan to use the term "moral support" in discussing its support to militants, Pallone said. For, Pakistan has unleashed "a campaign of terror that has claimed thousands of victims, both Hindu and Muslim, and has made refugees of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits," Pallone added.
Quoting reports that the well-trained mercenaries are not only supported by the Pakistani Army, but that Pakistani Army regulars may be participating in the infiltration of India, Pallone said India had taken "appropriate straps to keep" Pakistan and the world community informed about its actions.
India "could not stand by and allow" the efforts to change the Line of Control, "which both countries officially recognize and honor, almost as a de facto international border," he continued.
Referring to his continual call to repeal the economic sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan by the Glenn amendment, Pallone said the sanctions "have done nothing to promote nuclear non-proliferation or to build confidence between India and Pakistan." On the other hand, they have hurt America's invest opportunities.
The Pressler Amendment, which bans American military assistance to Pakistan, unless the American President certifies that Pakistan does not possess nuclear weapons, should not be repealed, Pallone said. He was referring to the testimony by Karl F Inderfurth, the assistant secretary of state for South Asian Affairs, before a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee in support of repealing the Pressler Amendment.
"I greatly respect Inderfurth," Pallone added. "But I believe he is wrong on this issue."
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