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India-Pakistan Relationship

July 30, 1994

The letter of July 9 from Pakistan's press minister regarding events in Kashmir does a disservice to efforts aimed at resolving the problem there.

India currently is seeking to resume talks with Pakistan on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. To be productive, those talks will need to be grounded in facts debated by level-headed people. Logic thus dictates that the liberties taken in the press minister's letter be rectified.

The notion that there isn't a shred of evidence that terrorists aiding and abetting a separatist movement in Kashmir are supported from Pakistan is widely contradicted. For instance, in its most recent annual report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department again confirms that "there are credible reports of official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants."

The idea that racism is part of the dynamic in Kashmir simply doesn't wash. Both the Muslim and Hindu populations in Kashmir come from the same racial stock.

The suggestion that India is at loggerheads with Nepal and Bhutan, two of its neighbors to the north, is simply absurd. India maintains healthy diplomatic and economic relations with both countries. The criticism of India's liberation of Goa from colonial rule years ago shows the extent to which anti-Indian passions dictate Pakistan's India policies. Pakistan should know that India and Portugal enjoy excellent relations.

The idea that Indian troops are terrorizing innocent Muslims in Kashmir is a very lame attempt at spin control. In its most recent "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," the U.S. State Department notes that "Kashmiri militant groups carried out politically motivated killing on a wide scale, targeting government officials, alleged police informers, members of rival factions and Hindu civilians." Almost the entire Hindu population of the Kashmir Valley has fled because of violence unleashed against them by Islamic terrorists.

If Pakistan is sincere in its assertion it wants to reduce tensions with India, let it put the rhetoric aside and return to the negotiating table.

MALAY MISHRA, Press Counselor, Embassy of India, Washington

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