KASHMIR:INDIA WINNING THE PROPAGANDA WAR

Vol 3, PW 11 (23 Jun 99) People & Policy
     

Theres no doubt India is winning the war against Pakistan, not only the ground war in Kashmir, but the propaganda war too.

The biggest boost to morale came on Sunday (20 June) when the G8 summit in Germany put out a statement unequivocal in its support for the Indian position: We are deeply concerned about the continuing military confrontation in Kashmir following the infiltration of armed intruders which violated the Line of Control (LOC)", said a communique, We regard any action to change the status quo as irresponsible". The reaction of Indian diplomats has been ecstatic.

"There is no element in the statement which falls short of our expectations", said one. Only Japan was reluctant to give full support to the G8 communique, but France, Great Britain, the US and Russia backed India in unison.

Five days earlier (15 June) US President Bill Clinton held a 20 minute telephone conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan in which he demanded a withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Indian-controlled Kashmir. "The president basically indicated he did not see how progress could be made until those forces are withdrawn", said White House spokesman PJ Crowley.

Pakistans reaction to US pressure has been hostile. "I feel there is a US bias and prejudice against Pakistan", said Brigadier Rashid Qureshi, Pakistans army spokesman.

India scored a further coup when on Friday (18 June) it released the tape of a conversation between Pakistans army chief Gen Parvez Musharraf - on a visit to China on 26-29 May - and his chief of staff Gen Mohammed Aziz who phoned him from Pakistan. For India, the tape - available on the internet at www.indiatimes.com - proves that the Pakistani army is out of control.