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We will crush cross-border terrorism: Advani

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI OCT. 18. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today asserted that India would not rest till it broke the back of cross-border terrorism and told Pakistan to abandon the proxy-war against India or risk becoming an ostracised state.

Stressing that the country would not be deterred by cross-border terrorism, Mr. Advani said the security forces were making big gains. "Pakistan is finding itself in the dock with our stand on terrorism being vindicated in more and more cases. The latest is the move by the U.S. Treasury Department to declare Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, a `Karachi-based global terrorist' with Al-Qaeda links,'' he said.

Addressing the `Antar-Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad' here, Mr. Advani, referred to Friday's failed attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's residence in Srinagar and said: "As the whole world knows, Mr. Sayeed heads a government that was democratically elected. The elections were free and fair.The people of Jammu and Kashmir participated in the polls in large numbers despite calls for boycott, threats and widespread violence by Pakistan-trained terrorist groups."

Mr. Advani said: "We will not rest till we break the back of cross-border terrorism. Pakistan has the choice of abandoning this dangerous path of proxy war against India or risk becoming an ostracised state."

He said that India's prestige had gone up because of its principled campaign against terrorism, which the world had come to realise as one of the biggest threats to peace and civilised order. "There is rapidly growing realisation in capitals around the world that what India has been saying about terrorism — its ideology, its purpose, and its operational source — is indeed true," he said.

Referring to the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's September 2000 address to the U.S. Congress where he had said that distance could not make any nation immune to the threat of terrorism, Mr. Advani said the world saw its truth in the horrific happenings of September 11.

"India's diplomatic and political initiatives have now convinced even those who were previously doubtful that India's stand on Kashmir is right, and the cross-border terrorist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir is neither an `Islamic issue' — as the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, has once again described it at the Organisation of Islamic Countries summit in Malaysia a few days ago — nor an indigenous `freedom struggle."

He said India was one of the fast growing economies and its successes in information technology; telecom, highway development, housing and manufacturing had attracted worldwide acclaim. "There was a time when India depended on foodgrains imports to feed its population. Now we export foodgrains worth about Rs. 7,000 crores to 25 countries. There is a feel-good factor in the country," he said.

Mr. Advani described the Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998 as the "bold and historic" government decision and asserted that India's nuclear doctrine was purely self-defensive. "Our new nuclear status has made no difference to India being seen as a peace loving nation that harbours no aggressive intentions against anybody."

Describing Pravasi Bharatiyas (non-resident Indians) as a central aspect of India's vigorous foreign policy initiatives, he said that India had become a summit partner of the ASEAN and the European Union.

"Our interaction with G-8 countries is growing, and so is our dialogue with China," he said.

On the demand of the Parishad and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) for dual nationality status to the PIOs, Mr. Advani said that the Government had already granted it in the case of PIOs in six countries and would extend it to some more countries.

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