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Terror infrastructure still exists in Pak: Armitage

By Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 14, 2004 20:08 IST
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US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Wednesday said terrorist infrastructure still exists in Pakistan and stressed that infiltration into India from across the border must end.

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Addressing a press conference in New Delhi before leaving for Pakistan, he said: "Clearly, all the infrastructure that supports cross-border terrorism has not been dismantled. Some has been dismantled."

On India's concerns about continued infiltration, he said: "Any level of infiltration is too much from our point of view. There is infiltration. You get various opinions here about whether it is up or down. It is down probably. But the point is not to have it at all."

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he had said, after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day, that "people are still dying. It is not acceptable."

Armitage said the United Progressive Alliance government has indicated it is keen to talk to all sections of Kashmiris in order to find an amicable solution to the dispute.

During his hectic day-long schedule, Armitage also had meetings with External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, National Security Adviser J N Dixit, besides holding extensive parleys with Foreign Secretary Shashank.

The first senior member of the Bush administration to visit India after the new government assumed office, Armitage
also met Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani.
To a question, he said he had not made any request for Indian troops to Iraq and added that the Indian government has indicated ways in which it can be helpful in Iraq.

On his perception of the new government and its desire to forge a closer partnership with the US, Armitage said there is no difference between the Indian opposition and the UPA government on that count.

With PTI Inputs



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Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi