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|March 1, 1999||
Advani worried over build-up of foreign mercenaries, arms in Kashmir
Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani has said that intelligence reports indicate a significant build-up of foreign mercenaries and sophisticated arms and ammunition in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border, which has been causing concern and alarm among the security forces.
Addressing the 24th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council, which was attended by the chief ministers of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and the finance minister of Punjab in Surajkund, Haryana, the home minister said foreign mercenaries now dominate the scene, thereby giving Pakistan a stranglehold over prominent secessionist militant groups, which are being used by the Inter-Services Intelligence to engineer communal divide.
The significant build-up, however, has not got proportionately reflected into incidents of terrorist violence, which itself is a matter of concern that need to be looked into, he said.
He said another area of concern is the targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits, who remain vulnerable, particularly in isolated pockets in the upper reaches.
The key, therefore, is to curb and, if possible, to stop infiltration from across the border.
The people of the state are tired and disillusioned with militancy.
However, he admitted that the situation in the state has shown an overall improvement after the installation of a popular government.
Advani said Kashmir remained the prime target of Pakistan's subversive designs and the ISI establishment continued to serve as the prime vehicle for instigating, training and supporting the militant movement in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah praised the efforts being made by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to strengthen friendly relations with Pakistan.
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