India's right to build a fence

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2003, 12:00am

I refer to 'India's monument to distrust' (Sunday Morning Post, August 17), by Asad Riaz Ahmed, which contains some inaccuracies in both tone and content.

The government of India's decision to erect an electrified fence along the Line of Control is in response to continued, untenable and unwarranted support to terrorism in India from across the border. It is the sovereign right and duty of India to take all appropriate measures to safeguard its territorial integrity.

Talking peace is not enough, though your correspondent's assumption that this should lead to India becoming lax on its security by giving up construction of the fences, is uncalled for. Nations faced by a determined challenge to their sovereignty and security by elements acting in conjunction with other states must have enhanced security.

This has not deterred Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee from thrice extending the hand of peace to Pakistan over the past five years. Thus, while we continue to seek peace, we cannot lower our guard. Also, the article mentions a demand for a plebiscite. May I clarify. The issue of a plebiscite was taken to the UN Security Council, and India agreed to its holding conditional upon Pakistan fulfilling relevant parts of the resolutions of August 13, 1948.

Pakistan never fulfilled these assurances. As India stated in the security council in 1957: 'If an offer is made and it is not accepted at the time . . . it cannot be held for generations over the heads of those who made it.' With Pakistan's intransigence, and passage of time, the offer lapsed and was overtaken by events.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, which saw a voter turnout of 43.7 per cent despite attempts to sabotage their peaceful conduct, demonstrated the resolve of the Kashmiri people to reject cross-border terrorism, and underlined their preference for democracy.

ANURAG GOEL, Consul (Press, Political and Information), Consulate General of India