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India: We Won't Hit Rebel Camps

India has no intention of attacking militant camps in Pakistan, Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani said Friday.

"Under international law, it is legitimate if anyone attacks you, you have the right to pursue. But at the present point of time, we have no plans to do that," Advani told the Foreign Correspondents' Club in New Delhi.

Although India says Pakistan is a main sponsor of terrorist groups in South Asia, Advani said India has no problem with the United States working with Pakistan at this time to combat terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

"In this fight, Pakistan being on our side in the battle against terrorism is an advantage in the international effort. We don't find fault with the United States having Pakistan as a front-line ally," Advani said.

But he made it clear that India expects the latter phase of U.S. President George W. Bush's battle against terrorism to also deal with the militant groups in Pakistan that strike inside India.

"America and other nations in the international coalition must ensure that those who are part of this war against terrorism are themselves not guilty of providing a safe haven to terrorists, hijackers and organizers of terrorist camps," Advani said.

India did not, however, seek any such assurance during this week's visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Advani said, adding that India had taken note of what Mr. Bush and other allies have said about future phases of the anti-terrorism campaign.

"We have sent to the Interpol a long list of people who have been guilty of terrorist actions in India and are absconding from Indian law, some of whom are residing in Pakistan," he said. "There are obvious implications."

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training more than a dozen Islamic guerrilla groups fighting for Kashmir's independence from India since 1989. Human rights groups say more than 60,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

Advani said there is "ample intelligence and analytical evidence" to show that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence created the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which has provided a safe have to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network, accused by the United States of planning the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

"It is, therefore, disingenuous for Pakistan to now claim to be an ally of the international community in the fight against terrorism," Advani said. India does not object "if Pakistan's support to the campaign helps," he said. "The success of this initial phase of the campaign is in India's interest."

Pakistan acknowledges supporting the Taliban but denies India's charge that it aids the Islamic groups that stage attacks in Kashmir, other than providing diplomatic and moral support to the men it calls "freedom fighters."

By LAURINDA KEYS
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