- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

SRINAGAR, India Indian officials say they have presented the United States with voluminous evidence that Pakistani support for an insurgency in India's Kashmir Valley continues unabated five months after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged to an American envoy that it would end.
Frustrated with the failure of the United States and its allies to hold Gen. Musharraf to the June 6 promise made to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage which headed off a likely Indian military attack on Pakistan Indian leaders accuse the West of a double standard in its war on terrorism.
"We get the feeling that terrorists are bad [only when] they are attacking the United States," External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said in an interview in his New Delhi office. "The war [against terrorism] is being fought with standards that are open to question."
U.S. officials, grateful to Pakistan for assistance in the war on al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, acknowledge that infiltration continues despite Gen. Musharraf's promise but say they are not convinced of a government role. Pakistani officials suggest the evidence may have been fabricated by India to disguise its inability to cope with an indigenous uprising.
India's evidence, which was shown to The Washington Times, includes aerial surveillance photographs of purported training camps in Pakistan and Pakistani-held Kashmir, statements by captured infiltrators, intercepts of radio transmissions between Kashmir and Pakistan, identifying documents and notebooks seized from killed or captured insurgents, and material published in the Pakistani press.
"The direct role of the Pakistani army is known through technical and human intelligence," said Girish Chandra Saxena, the New Delhi-appointed governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We also know it from the types of arms captured remote-control mines and wireless sets that would not otherwise be available to them. We intercept messages from Pakistan, thousands in a month, both in code and clear. We have shared all of this with the U.S. administration."
Lt. Gen. V.T. Patankar, the suave and engaging commander of Indian forces in Kashmir, said there are 40 to 45 guerrilla training camps in Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir, down from a high of 142, "but now they are larger."
"Many training camps are close to Pakistani army camps. Some of the militants have been given fatigues. They share a firing range at the Chakothi camp" in Pakistani-held Kashmir near the Line of Control (LOC), which divides Kashmir into its Indian and Pakistani sectors.
"Most infiltration is aided by heavy fire across the LOC" from the Pakistan army, he said.
Gen. Patankar and his aides also displayed dozens of captured training notebooks, identity cards and code books during a briefing at the Indian army's heavily guarded XV Corps headquarters in Srinagar. He said similar briefings had been given to U.S. Ambassador Robert Blackwill and other American officials.
The United States remains skeptical about some of the evidence, and indeed it is hard for a layman to tell whether India's aerial photographs show what the Indians claim they do.
Similarly it seems surprising that Pakistani guerrillas would cross the Line of Control carrying laminated identity cards with the names of proscribed terrorist groups printed in large letters and in English.
Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said yesterday that some sites identified by India in the past as training camps have been in fact civil-defense facilities open to the public.
Pointing out that Pakistan has proposed neutral observers patrol the Line of Control, he good-naturedly noted it "speaks very poorly of both of us" if Pakistan were allowing its radio transmissions to be picked up by India and the Indians were incapable of acting on them.
Asked whether he thought India might have fabricated its evidence, he said, "India is capable of doing it."
Nevertheless, a senior U.S. official knowledgeable about the region acknowledged last week that the infiltration has been continuing and has increased in recent weeks. "We continue to focus on it closely. It is something we have a strong interest in."
Mr. Blackwill, the U.S. ambassador in New Delhi, went further in public remarks late last month that infuriated Pakistan, saying, "The problem in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism. It's virtually now, in my judgment, entirely externally driven."
Such statements do little to assuage the Indians, who see them as further evidence that the United States is simply allowing Pakistan to foment terrorism against India as long as it cooperates in the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"We realize the problem of the international community. They won't pressure Gen. Musharraf beyond a certain point because they fear the alternative to Musharraf in Pakistan is more fundamentalism," said Mr. Sinha, the foreign minister.
"But he has been pushed to the wall on Afghanistan and still was able to get 98.5 percent in a referendum. But you say that on Kashmir he cannot be pushed?"
The Indian officials are particularly incensed that assistance to the Kashmir insurgency has continued after Gen. Musharraf's promises to end to it.
Most residents of the Kashmir Valley agree the insurgency began in 1989 as an indigenous uprising fed by years of poor local government and a history of severely flawed state elections.
But over the years, Indian security forces say, the movement has been taken over by Pakistani and other foreign "jihadis," or holy warriors, many of them trained in the same religious schools that gave rise to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Of the three main guerrilla groups, they say, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are headed by Pakistanis and run from the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Bahawalpur, respectively. Both are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.
The third main group, the largest and the only one with a preponderance of local members, is the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which is headed by Sayeed Salauddin, a Kashmiri living in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
India moved more than half a million troops to the Pakistani border following a December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that was blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammed, prompting Gen. Musharraf to declare on Jan. 12 that Pakistan "will not allow its territory to be used for terrorist activity anywhere in the world."
When India again prepared to attack in early June, following the massacre of more than two dozen women and children at an Indian army camp in Kashmir, top U.S. diplomats rushed to the region to head off what they feared could develop into a nuclear exchange.
Mr. Armitage arrived in New Delhi from Pakistan on June 7 with what the Indians say was a firm pledge from Gen. Musharraf to permanently end the infiltration of militants into Kashmir.
Mr. Armitage "told us that Gen. Musharraf had promised a permanent end to infiltration and made these points: One, it will be visible. Two, it will be to your satisfaction. Three, he would dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism," said Mr. Sinha, who took over the foreign ministry post in July.
He said the infiltration levels declined during June and July but began picking up again in August and September. "Gen. Musharraf made a promise to Richard Armitage, but he has not kept it."
Another senior official close to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said India has "communicated to the [United States and Britain] our deep disappointment at their failure to persuade Gen. Musharraf to implement his commitments made to them."
"I am not going to doubt the sincerity of the administration in pushing Musharraf to do what he had promised, but we certainly have a feeling that both the U.S. and [Britain] did not put all the pressure they could have on Musharraf," the official said.
The senior U.S. official, who appeared surprised at the bluntness of the Indian criticism, acknowledged there are "extremist elements in Pakistan that are of great concern," but said, "The degree to which there is government support for them is no longer clear."
Noting that the United States placed both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed on its list of foreign terrorist organizations following the Dec. 13 attack on the Indian Parliament, the official said the Pakistani government subsequently banned both groups.
"The American view is that their offices have been closed and that large numbers of their members have been jailed where there is sufficient evidence to hold them. The United States believes the groups are a threat to Pakistan as well as to India. "
"Pakistan is our friend, and they are proving it every day. I think you cannot overlook the fact that there are over 400 terrorists that Pakistan has helped us to catch. Some of the most important ones were caught with help from President Musharraf."
Asked, however, whether the United States sees the struggle in Kashmir as part of the wider war against terrorism, the official hesitated. "All violence against civilians for political purposes," he said, "is unacceptable."

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