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August 5, 2000
EU criticises Kashmir attacks
Krzytof de Breza in Paris
India has won yet another strategic point in the international diplomatic battle against Pakistan with France, holding presidency of the European Union, criticising the recent wave of violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement in Paris on Thursday, the EU expressed consternation at the killings of over 100 pilgrims near Pahalgam this week. "The European Union expresses its consternation at the attacks on August 1 and 2 in Jammu and Kashmir, which come at a time when efforts to restore peace are being undertaken in the region. These terrorist acts targeting the civilian population can only generate horror and indignation. The European Union condemns with the greatest firmness the killers and their backers,'' the French Presidency said in a statement, issued on behalf of the 15-member union.
International affairs experts in Paris have attached tremendous significance to this statement.
Two words stand out in this rather harsh statement. This is the first time that the EU has referred to terrorist acts in Kashmir. Earlier it had been referred to as militants. And even more significantly, by referring to terrorists' backers, this is the first time that the Europeans have acknowledged the direct involvement of Pakistan-based elements and organisations in the Kashmir crisis. International affairs experts say the strong statement could be a result of the indepth strategic dialogue between India and France earlier this week in New Delhi, leading to a better understanding that France has of affairs in Kashmir
Almost exactly a year ago, in its attempts to convince the international community that Pakistan is fomenting trouble in Kashmir and is aiding and arming terrorist outfits in the troubled state, India had scored yet another crucial point over Pakistan during the Kargil crisis. It was at that time again that the European Union, especially the French, had come out harshly on the infiltrators and urged Pakistan to use its influence with the infiltrators to get them to withdraw from Kargil.
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