REVERSAL OF ROLLBACK ROLES 

Read more below

By FROM PRANAY SHARMA
  • Published 4.07.02
  •  
New Delhi, July 4 :    New Delhi, July 4:  A day after Yashwant Sinha, nicknamed Rollback after his frequent backtracking on decisions as finance minister, took charge of external affairs, India accused the Pervez Musharraf regime of "rolling back" on its commitment to end infiltration permanently. Delhi put the pressure back on Pakistan saying further steps towards de-escalation would depend on Islamabad's ability to bring cross-border terrorism to an end. "The scope for further de-escalatory measures is restricted and prevented. In fact, an obstacle is created by Pakistan which is not showing its willingness to deliver on the pledges and commitments it made before the international community," foreign ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao said this evening. Army chief General S. Padmanabhan chipped in with a caution that chances of hostilities between India and Pakistan had not receded. Islamabad has to dismantle the entire infrastructure of the terrorists based on its soil to prevent tension from rising in the region, he said. "Though the infiltration has reduced by a margin, it will require a lot of effort on the part of the other side to dismantle the entire terrorism infrastructure before infiltration comes down to a trickle, leave alone stop," Gen. Padmanabhan said on TV. Since May 27, when promises to stop cross-border-terrorism "permanently" were made, five Pakistani infiltration attempts have been thwarted, the army chief said. Though five such attempts were frustrated, according to army estimates, 107 terrorists managed to sneak into India during this period. Without ruling out the possibility of an armed engagement with Pakistan, the army chief said: "My troops are there. Their troops are on the border. The reason for which we stood out there for six to seven months now is that we wanted this infiltration and cross-border terrorism to stop... It continues... If it does not stop...What do we do...We have to take some action." However, reports from Jammu and Kashmir said the Indian Army has started de-mining in the R.S. Pura and Ramgarh sectors in Jammu, suggesting that Delhi has begun further steps towards de-escalation. An army statement, though, ruled out any such possibility. The de-mining is taking place as a pre-emptive measure to deal with the situation at the onset of monsoon, it said. The mines are being removed from low-lying areas and along rivers and nullahs to ensure that they did not go adrift and cause damage to civilians, the statement said. The tough Indian stand appears aimed at telling both the international community and Pakistan not to be complacent as Delhi would continue to maintain pressure till it is satisfied about Musharraf's intentions on stopping infiltration and cross-border-terrorism. It also came on a day when British defence secretary Geoff Hoon met the Indian leadership and talked on the situation along the border and the state of relations between the nuclear neighbours in South Asia. Hoon, who met foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and national security adviser Brajesh Mishra during the day, said London was fully supportive of India's stand on cross-border terrorism and wanted Pakistan to comply with its commitment before the international community to bring infiltration to an end. But he also wanted to know whether Delhi could take more steps towards de-escalation to encourage the Pakistan President to maintain the tempo against the terrorists.