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June 26, 1999
Restraint has won India universal support: Advani
Home Minister L K Advani has said that Pakistan certainly deserves to be called a ''terrorist state'' in accordance with the norms laid down by many Western countries as it is directly involved in ''promoting terrorism, subversion and violence'' in India.
In Pakistan there is no single centre of power and there are several autonomous power centres, all behaving in their own fashion, thus making it an irresponsible ''rogue state,'' Advani said in an interview with Eenadu Television.
Referring to Chief of Army Staff General V P Malik's statement that there were certain constraints on account of the cabinet decision not to cross the Line of Control, the home minister said ''at present we are not considering this option. We would be able to contain this act of aggression by Pakistan even with these constraints.''
He said if ''we do not impose constraints we may not have got the kind of universal support we have today. Very often in this kind of situation the issue is who the aggressors are. Who attacked first -- they or we. Now that is not the issue. How do we proceed further -- that has to be considered.''
Regarding Defence Minister George Fernandes' reported statement on the Kargil issue, Advani said he (George) was merely pointing out that in this particular episode the decision-making in Pakistan may have been at the army-level. ''But the responsibility lies squarely with the prime minister and the government. And they cannot be absolved,'' the home minister said.
Advani said it was surprising to discover certain things (the taped conversation between the Pakistani army chief and his deputy). ''Nothing of that kind happens here,' he said.
Asked whether India had failed to judge the inherent hostility of Pakistan, he said there had been such phases in the past. ''We have been critical of the Tashkent Agreement ... We strongly criticised the Simla Agreement because we felt that the cost the country paid in terms of fatalities and such a magnificent victory and the gains achieved by our armed forces were frittered away at the negotiating table,'' he explained.
''Simla could have been the end of the Kashmir problem, but we failed to do it,'' he said.
When questioned whether the apparent bonhomie in the immediate aftermath of the Lahore Declaration was also misplaced, Advani said Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to Pakistan served a sound purpose. ''Unlike Pakistan, in India the desire for peace is universal. There are people in Pakistan who feel that if there is peace, friendly and normal relations with India, the identity of Pakistan will be in danger,'' he said.
Advani said the Bharatiya Janata Party had restrained itself from politicising the Kargil issue. ''There may come a time when there would be a full-fledged debate on this,'' he said regarding the criticism by some opposition leaders. However, he said he was by and large satisfied with the conduct of the opposition parties at this crucial juncture.
The home minister said the government was considering the demand for convening a special session of the Rajya Sabha in view of the Kargil situation. ''The consideration is whether it would help the government to deal with the present problem,'' he said.
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