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19/02/2003-Foreign Minister of Indian: “Pakistan wants to divide us”

Indian Foreign Minister: “Pakistan has become the epicenter for international terrorism”

Today Foreign Minister of India Mr. Yashwant Sinha is coming to Russia. This visit is taking place during another increase of confrontation between India and Pakistan and increased diplomatic activity of Russia in South-Asian region. Before the visit, Mr. Yashwant Sinha gave interview to the Nezavisimaya.

Mr. Yashwant Sinha emphasizes the importance of strategic partnership with Russia.

 

Indian Foreign Minister: “Pakistan has become the epicenter for international terrorism”

Today Foreign Minister of India Mr. Yashwant Sinha is coming to Russia. This visit is taking place during another increase of confrontation between India and Pakistan and increased diplomatic activity of Russia in South-Asian region. Before the visit, Mr. Yashwant Sinha gave interview to the Nezavisimaya.

Mr. Yashwant Sinha emphasizes the importance of strategic partnership with Russia.

Q: What are the goals of your visit?

A: My meetings with representatives of the Russian leadership and my host Igor Ivanov are expected to cover the entire spectrum of bilateral issues and, and a number of international problems. My visit is preparatory for our Prime Minister’s visit to Russia in May of this year. My visit also coincides with Indian Trade Exhibition in Moscow, in which a large number of Indian companies are participating. Gas project in Russia Sakhalin-I and nuclear power plant in India Kudankulam are examples highlighting capacities of our countries in the sphere of our bilateral investment in industry.

Q: What are India’s priorities regarding Russia?

A: First off all, it’s our regular dialogue in spirit of strategic partnership in regard to problems of regional development as well as in the sphere of international relations as a whole. We need to address the challenges of international terrorism. In this light it’s possible to consider creation of counterterrorist working group by the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May. Putin during his visit to India last year supported our position that dialogue between Pakistan and India may resume only after Islamabad ceases its support of terrorism and dismantles terrorist infrastructure on its territory. We’re particularly concerned about extremists’ threats to use WMD. We clearly realize the necessity to prevent WMD proliferation.

Q: It’s obvious that the talks will include Iraq. What’s the position of India on this problem?

A: We support fulfillment of corresponding UN resolutions and elimination of WMD. We believe that any decisions regarding Iraq should be sanctioned by the UN. If Iraq fulfills these decisions, the sanctions should be lifted.

Q: How important is threat of trans-border terrorism for you today?

A: It’s the issue of primary importance for us. We see that Pakistan strive to weaken and divide India. For the last two decades Pakistan in any way supported trans-border terrorism on Indian territory. Besides that, Pakistan actively participated in creation of Taliban movement and Al Qaeda. This country has become the epicenter of international terrorisms. Today forces that are related to Taliban and Al Qaeda appeared in North West province in Baluhistan region in Pakistan. Because of constant threat by Pakistan, the situation in Afghanistan continues to be unstable.

Q: 21 century is projected as Asian centrury because of good performance of Asian economies like China, India and ASEAN countries. India seems to be interested in further integration with Asian countries. Is it so?

A: India’s multilateral cooperation with ASEAN countries is an inseparable part of our “Look East” policy. Comprehensive dialogue with these countries began in 1996 and in November 2002, the first India-ASEAN summit took place. We have many joint projects and studies in human resource development, trade and investment, science and technology. India and ASEAN agreed to create in the future regional trade and investment zone.

By Alexei Andreev, Nezavisimaya, February 19, 2003

 

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