India is confident Pakistan will meet its demands for a crackdown on Islamic militants but must see Pakistan act before it eases its pressure on Islamabad, an Indian minister said yesterday.
"We are confident given the feedback we have received from the international community that the demands we have placed before Pakistan ... will be met," junior foreign minister Omar Abdullah said in Srinagar, the capital of Indian controlled Kashmir.
"We ...know that these things cannot be done overnight," he said, adding: "We have also conveyed to Pakistan that our patience is not endless."
India and Pakistan have massed hundreds of thousands of troops on their common border since a December 13 attack on the Indian parliament, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan-based Islamic groups fighting in Kashmir.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced on January 12 a sweeping clampdown on Islamic extremists in his country. But India has said it is waiting to see concrete results on the ground.
Abdullah said India was "keen under all costs to avoid any military action."
But India's Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani, the cabinet's de facto No 2, said that war could only be ruled out if Islamabad completely rejects terrorism.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who visited New Delhi and Islamabad last week, agreed that "terrorism has to end ... and therefore India's stand that it would like to wait and see how Pakistan acts on what Musharraf stated in the course of his speech is justified."
Meanwhile, Pakistan said yesterday that it would not allow transit through its territory of wheat from arch-rival India, saying the crop was "infested."
"We cannot allow it to pass through our land because there are warnings that during transit this could spread and infest our crops also," said Pakistani Food Minister Khair Mohammad Junejo.
Pakistan has said it will not hand over any Pakistanis on India's list of the 20 most-wanted men New Delhi alleges are criminals and terrorists being sheltered by Pakistan.
(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2002)