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End to cross-border terror a political necessity: Sinha

By Vinay Shukla in Moscow
May 14, 2003 19:53 IST
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Asserting that the US pressure on Islamabad to end cross-border terrorism was 'not reassuring on the ground,' India on Wednesday made it clear that an end to violence and dismantling of terrorist infrastructure by Pakistan is a 'practical necessity' for improving ties between the two nighbours.

During an hour-long meeting here with External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, the US Secetary of State Colin Powell
assured him that Washington would continue to stress upon Pakistan the need to take action on cross-border terrorist

When Sinha was asked whether he was satisfied with the amount and level of pressure the US was mounting on Pakistan, Sinha said: "We don't have a barometer to gauge this. However, in some way the words conveyed to us are very reassuring, but the effect on the ground is not very reassuring."

Both Sinha and Powell are on bilateral visits in the Russian capital.

"Powell briefed me about his contacts with President [Pervez] Musharraf and others in the Pakistani establishment and shared the opinion about ending cross-border terrorism against India," Sinha said.

The minister explained the rational behind Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiatives and the step-by-step
approach initiated by India. "In a step-by-step approach various issues will be decided at various levels. A time will come when talks about talks could begin between foreign offices of the two countries. But the summit is far away and it will come right at the end, when all issues are sorted out at other levels," Sinha said.        

Sinha ruled out any third-party mediation be it US or Russia or both in resolving Indo-Pak issues.

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Vinay Shukla in Moscow