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'Who is the US to restrain us?'

'Who is the US to restrain us?'

Author: Narendra Kaushik
Publication: Mid-Day
Date: December 18, 2001

Introduction: NDA leaders want action against terror camps in Pak

"RESTAINT, what restraint? America did not wait in Afghanistan. How can it tell us to be restrained?" ask leaders in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance after US Secretary of State Colin Powell advised India to observe restraint with regard to military action against terror camps in Pakistan.

There have been calls to attack camps there following Thursday's terrorist attack on Parliament in New Delhi.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra did not mince words when criticising Uncle Sam for double standards. "They did not wait (in Afghanistan). Yeh dohri mansikta hai (These are double standards)," Malhotra said.

Omar Abdullah, minister of state for external affairs, also made it clear that the government would go by the opinion of its own people rather than the American advice. "People of India don't want us to be restrained," Abdullah said, while adding that India had a democratically elected government.

Reacting to Powell's statement that Pakistan said it was taking action against the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the two groups believed to be behind Thursday's attack, Abdullah said India had no reason to believe Pak.

He said India had heard enough words from Pakistan and now wanted action. He said America had to be reminded that restraint after the attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly resulted in the attack on Parliament. He said he shuddered to imagine what might follow Thursday's attack.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister L K Advani is expected to give a statement to Parliament today. According to Malhotra, Advani will not say anything on whether India will cross the LoC (Line of Control) or not.

"The government will take a decision on crossing the LoC," Malhotra said, adding that Opposition leaders - instead of the entire Parliament - would be taken into confidence by the government about the action.

The home minister may also speak on POTO (Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance).

Malhotra also said that Pakistan's nuclear status could not deter India from destroying terrorist training camps across the border.

"Russia, the US and China have been nuclear powers. But they were engaged in conflicts," he pointed out.

Abdullah and Malhotra claim that the Congress has changed its stand on the issue of military action after public pressure. The party, which earlier did not favour military action against terror camps across the border, on Monday pledged support to any "considered action" of the government.

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