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Pakistan Must Dismantle Militant Training Camps, Says India - 2002-07-16


India says Pakistan must dismantle militant training camps in its territory, but has not directly blamed Islamabad for the weekend killings of 28 civilians in Indian Kashmir. New Delhi's first official reaction to the massacre followed an opposition-sponsored parliament debate on the latest violence.

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani told parliament India must ensure that Pakistan does much more to rein in Islamic militants operating from its territory. He said the issue between India and Pakistan is not just that of ending infiltration of Muslim militants into Indian territory, but rather one of shutting down the "infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan", militant training camps, and the flow of arms and money to the guerrillas.

He said the international community must put more pressure on Islamabad to dismantle militant camps. According to Mr. Advani, several countries now share India's assessment that Pakistan is the center of terrorism. "The epicenter of international terrorism has now shifted to Pakistan," he said.

Mr. Advani also announced that India's government has appointed a senior leader, Arun Jaitley, to discuss the issue of more autonomy for Indian Kashmir with the state government.

Earlier, several opposition parties criticized the government for its failure to prevent the attack that killed Hindu slumdwellers in Kashmir. Senior leader of the main opposition Congress Party, Shivraj Patil, accused the government of not having a clear strategy to deal with the continuing violence in Kashmir. "More than 30 times this issue has been discussed on the floor of the house, and yet terrorism continues in the country, and yet we who are sitting on the opposition benches do not know what is the vision of the Government of India," he said.

But an adjournment motion seeking to censure the government for its failure to control cross-border terrorism was defeated at the end of the debate.

Meanwhile, India's Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha told a private television channel that the latest attack will be a setback to efforts to normalize relations with Pakistan.

There are fears the latest attack in Kashmir could slow western diplomatic efforts to ease tensions between India and Pakistan. The two countries have been locked in a tense military standoff since a December attack on the Indian parliament.

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