TERRORISM – AL-QAEDA IN KASHMIR – 1 July 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: The Prime Minister made only the briefest reference to India and Pakistan. Will he expand on that, especially in the light of the very worrying report that al-Qaeda forces now seem to be moving into Kashmir? I am sure that he appreciates more than any of us the danger that will arise if such people start to fish in those exceptionally dangerously troubled waters.

[The Prime Minister: That is right – it is a very substantial danger. For that reason, it is important to ensure that Pakistan does all it can to prevent terrorists from crossing the border and the line of control there. There is evidence that it has stepped up its efforts significantly. I think that we have a respite from this issue, but we have not solved it by any means. What is important is that we redouble our efforts to ensure clear dialogue on the basis of an end to any form of Pakistani complicity in terrorism, and to ensure that, in response, there is proper dialogue between the two countries about all the issues between them, including Kashmir, so that the matter can be resolved as it should be between two countries, rather than in the way in which it has been dealt with in the past few years. He is right to stress the very real and recurrent threat from al-Qaeda in Kashmir and elsewhere.]