Meantime, here in the United States, India's defense minister, George Fernandes , met with several U.S. officials this week, including Vice President Cheney. Earlier today, I spoke with George Fernandes . And I began by asking him about optimistic-sounding statements that he made yesterday about resolving tensions with Pakistan, even as border troops on both sides remain on high alert.
George Fernandes, Indian Defence Minister: Well, we have made the point that the troops will be withdrawn the moment we have the Pakistani president meet with the two principal demands that have been made. One is that the cross-border terrorism should be brought to an end, which Pakistan can bring to an end without any difficulty whatsoever.
Judy Woodruff : The government of Pakistan can stop is, is what you're saying?
George Fernandes : Yes, yes, it can.
And the other is, we have given them 20 names of individuals who have or done a lot of terrorist activity on our soil. Most of them are Indian nationals who have taken refuge and who have been given protection in Pakistan. And some are -- three or four of them are Pakistani nationals.
Judy Woodruff : Well, the Pakistanis are saying they are already -- we have President Musharraf making speeches saying: We are cracking down on terrorism.
But you are saying still that's not enough?
George Fernandes : Yes, because, between making a speech and implementing what you are saying in your speech, they are two different categories. And we have -- I heard his speech personally the day he delivered it. It was primarily addressed to some of the problems that he is facing within his own country. He has not addressed the problem that has created a situation where today the troops are facing each other on the borders.
Judy Woodruff : Well, let me show you something that Secretary Powell -- or would you listen? Secretary Powell told me in an interview this past Monday, before he headed to the region, here is among -- here is part of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We want to see us get back to a situation where the Indian army is no longer mobilized; they have moved back to their original position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Judy Woodruff : So the United States is saying: We want the Indian army -- the United States wants the Indian army back to its position.
George Fernandes : Well, that may be the view of the U.S. government, but that's not the view of the government of India. There is a world of difference between these two views.
Judy Woodruff : But then how can you say problems are on the way to resolution if there is still so much difference?
George Fernandes : Well, one looks at the resolution because of the diplomatic efforts that are on. And we started those diplomatic efforts right across the globe. And we believe that these diplomatic efforts will give us results.
Judy Woodruff : But you are still -- you say you still are waiting for the president of Pakistan, for the Pakistani government to crack down even further on these terror groups. And you are waiting for these raids across the border to end. This could go on forever.
George Fernandes : Then if it's going to go on forever, as it has been going on for the last 15 years and more, then what is this whole fight, global fight against terrorism about? And we can't take a position that, well, we have been suffering over these years and so let us continue to be victims of Pakistani terror, Pakistani-sponsored terrorist activities. We can't take that position.
Judy Woodruff : What specifically do you want President Musharraf to do that Pakistan has not done so far? What specifically are you looking for him to do?
George Fernandes : Well, he has made certain promises in that speech of his. We want him to act on those promises.
Judy Woodruff : What's an example?
George Fernandes : For example, he has said that he wants to see the end of this kind of terrorism. Now it is possible for him to act immediately.
Judy Woodruff : But a number of terrorists have been rounded up and taken into custody.
George Fernandes : Yes, but that hasn't changed anything insofar as cross-border terrorism is concerned. Over a period of time, terrorists have been exported into India. When we went in for a cease-fire and kept on extending it month after month after month, all that happened was, those terrorists who at that time received total support from the Pakistani government, they moved in. They established their centers. And they took in weaponry and hid that weaponry. And today it is all still being used against us.
Judy Woodruff : And so you are saying -- and you are saying the United States doesn't understand that.
George Fernandes : Well, I'm sure that the United States is capable of understanding it, because what we are saying is not something that is not visible on the ground. We are not making an abstract statement. We are giving evidence.
The day I left Delhi, we had bomb explosions in Jammu and Kashmir. In the Jammu area of Jammu and Kashmir. One person died. And this is happening on a day-to-day basis. This has to end. We can't possibly be talking at one end, sitting in some comfortable place, and we can't have terrorists shoot at our troops or at our innocent civilians, the women and children included. We can't have it that way.
Judy Woodruff : India's defense minister, George Fernandes , we thank you very much. We hear you loud and clear.
(Courtesy, Indian Embassy in Washington)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine