Russia backs India on terrorism, Kashmir

MOSCOW NOV. 13. Dispelling recent speculation of a pro-Pakistani shift in its position on the situation in South Asia, Russia has reiterated full support for India on terrorism and Kashmir.

A joint statement issued today at the end of the three-day visit of the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to Moscow, urged Islamabad ``to implement in full its assurances to prevent infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control'' and ``to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan-controlled territory as a prerequisite for a purposeful dialogue between the two countries.''

Russia has registered its appreciation and support for India's peace initiatives and ``hoped that Pakistan will come out with a positive response.''

Commenting on the statement the Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, said ``notwithstanding speculation in the media, there is nothing in the Russian position that should be of concern to us.' The joint statement said that Russia supported the steps taken by India in Jammu and Kashmir in combating international terrorism, while India reaffirmed support for Russian action in Chechnya to protect its territorial integrity and constitutional order.

India and Russia recorded ``complete identity of views'' on terrorism and called on the international community to take decisive action ``against those who aid and abet terrorism across borders, harbour and provide sanctuary to terrorists and provide them with financial means, training or patronage.'' The two countries further stressed that ``international action against terrorism cannot be selective, but has to be uniform, comprehensive, continuous and multifaceted.''

Russia has restated its strong support for India's bid to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council, describing India as ``a deserving and strong candidate for the permanent membership in an expanded U.N. Security Council''. Russia has also backed India-drafted United Nations resolution on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

In a clear dig at the United States, India and Russia ``confirmed their opposition to the unilateral use or threat of use of force in violation of the U.N. Charter'' and vowed to work for establishing ``a multi-polar and just world order based on sovereign equality of all states, their territorial integrity and non-interference in their internal affairs.''