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MEA Spokesman on US air raids in Afghanistan and Sudan

August 21, 1998

In response to a question regarding US air raids in Afghanistan and Sudan, the Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs stated the following in New Delhi:

We have seen US statements that the US air strikes carried out yesterday in Afghanistan and Sudan were directed against terrorist targets. We await the full facts about this unilateral action.

 2. India has consistently condemned international terrorism, and expressed its shock and sorrow over the tragic loss of innocent lives which it leads to. We have also repeatedly highlighted the need for prompt and effective cooperation with the community of nations to counter and eradicate this growing scourge. It is an issue of particular concern to us, as India has itself been the victim of state sponsored, cross-border terrorism in its most heinous form. We have, on numerous occasions, drawn the world's attention to the presence of training camps in our immediate neighbourhood, where terrorists are equipped and prepared for carrying out subversive activities in India, and in particular in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Such terrorist training facilities have continued to function openly and in an unimpeded manner, in Pakistan, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and present-day Afghanistan.

 3. The international community has unfortunately been silent or indifferent to these developments and unable to agree on concerted efforts to tackle the menace of international terrorism. It is also regrettable that India's appeals to include terrorism within the jurisdiction of the proposed International Criminal Court fell on deaf ears. If our calls for meaningful international cooperation against terrorism had been heeded, the problem would not have assumed its present serious dimension.

 4. The events of the last few weeks once again make it clear that what is required is not selective unilateral action, but an effective international cooperative effort to identify and act against those responsible for international terrorism - whether individuals, terrorist groups or states.