NATIONAL

Aid to Pak. baffling: Advani

NEW DELHI JUNE 26. In a virtual disapproval of the $ 3-billion U.S. economic aid to Pakistan, half of which is for defence, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today said that it baffled the people and the Government why such assistance was extended to ``sponsors and abettors'' of terrorism.

In an apparent reference to the U.S., Mr. Advani said ``you have declared yourself the leader of the global coalition against terrorism. Then, why do you give economic aid and arms to those who sponsor and abet terrorism? This they (people of India) do not understand.''

Speaking at a function to mark the 28th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency in 1975, he asked the U.S. to be sensitive to the people and the Government of India, while taking a decision concerning economic aid and arms to Pakistan.

Later in an interview to `Aaj Tak' he dismissed suggestions of differences with Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. He declared there were no power centres and no rivalry between the two.

Saying he was amused over frequent reports of Mr. Vajpayee and he quibbling, he said ``there is no truth whatsoever in this. People who know us closely understand it very well''. — PTI

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