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'Pak returned to Taliban 2 impounded choppers'

g and compass

Times of India


'Pak returned to Taliban 2 impounded choppers'


NEW DELHI: Implying continuing military-links between Islamabad and the Taliban, India has charged Pakistan of returning two helicopters it had seized recently from the militia.

Despite this revelation made at external affair and defence minister Jaswant Singh's press conference Thursday, India sought to lower tensions between the two countries by virtually ruling out any attacks on terrorist camps across the Line of Control.

He said the military helicopters were flown out to Pakistani territory because the Taliban feared they would be destroyed in American air attacks. The military helicopters were unlikely to be used for any peaceful purpose, he said.

Asked if he saw if saw Indian forces going after terrorists in hot pursuit and attack their camps across the Line of Control, Singh said "I do not see (that)."

Questioned about the Indian reluctance to strike at Pakistani camps, Singh said, "All factors" had been taken into account in taking the decision, and it was difficult for him to spell them out at a press conference.

Answering another question about India "subdued" response to terrorism from across the border, the minister said the country had been fighting it alone. After September 11, the United States had joined India's battle against terrorism.

He said the war against al-Qaeda by an international coalition will directly benefit India. Many groups operating in Jammu Kashmir -- like Harkat ul Mujahideen, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba -- were part of the al-Qaeda network.

Singh said India will participate actively in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan after the war. Virtually rejecting a reported Pakistani proposal for including a "moderate" Taliban elements in any future Afghan government, the minister said, "Moderate Taliban, to my mind, is an oxymoron."

He said India was sending one million tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Also being sent were tents, blankets and quilts. It will also expand medical services for Afghans

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