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Vajpayee to put Pakistan in the dock

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York | September 22, 2003 12:55 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan's failure to take action against cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir without naming the country in his address to the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25.

Also see: Complete coverage of prime minister's visit

Vajpayee will raise the issue of terrorism in a broader perspective without naming any country, but on terrorist activities in the Indian subcontinent it will be loud and clear to the world leaders as to which country or countries the prime minister is referring to.

"We need to make clear to the comity of nations that certain states are falling short of taking action against terrorism despite their pledges," an Indian official said. Vajpayee is also expected to underscore the need for greater degree of co-operation and joint efforts among nations to combat terrorism.

India is not likely to come out with any dramatic or new proposal to solve some of the pressing issues facing the world, but Vajpayee will certainly continue to focus on terrorism and the need to combat it.

One of the things that India is expected to do during the UNGA session is to try and renew its efforts to reach a consensus on the Comprehensive Treaty on International Convention on Terrorism, proposed by New Delhi six years back.

There have been major differences of opinions among nations on two of the 27 articles in the treaty, including one on the question of the definition of terrorism and how it differs from the so-called fight for the right of self-determination.

So far India has not been able to convince all the member nations to agree to the treaty, but efforts to achieve a consensus will continue this time.

Another major issue that is expected to come up when Vajpayee addresses the UNGA and meets with US President George Bush is whether India will be sending troops to Iraq.

In a brief interaction with India Abroad recently, Bush had said he would love to have Indian troops in Iraq, but he also acknowledged Indian government's constraints in taking such an action ahead of a general election.

Officials said that while New Delhi could consider sending troops to Baghdad as part of a multinational force for
peace-keeping, such a request must come from a "sovereign government" in Iraq through the UN and "not from the
occupying power."

"India has always been impartial and objective in terms of international peacekeeping and it wants be seen like that,"
one official said. "It is important for us that it is something that can be clearly seen as impartial and objective," the official said.

Besides the feisty issues of terrorism and Iraq, the 58th UNGA, to be attended by 91 heads of states and governments, is expected to discuss what Secretary General Kofi Annan has called 'soft issues' like hunger, disease and poverty.

Annan has said in his latest report to the UNGA that such issues tend to get lesser attention at the UN.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, there will be interactions between the leaders of South Africa, Brazil and India during a
tri-continental meeting to share experiences of addressing issues of poverty and hunger. "The idea is to learn from each other and find replicable models," officials said.


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