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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 17:54 GMT
India recalls parliament attack
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee throws flower petals in front of the portraits of security personnel killed during the attack
Vajpayee said the Indian stance was working
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has marked the first anniversary of a bloody attack on the Indian parliament by saying that India's message to Pakistan about terrorism "is working".

We were forced to deploy our troops on the borders to send a strong message to our western neighbour...the message is working

Atal Behari Vajpayee, Indian Prime Minister

India blamed the attack on Pakistan-backed militants - a charge denied by Pakistan - and as relations deteriorated the nuclear-capable neighbours mobilised up to a million men along their common border.

Speaking in Delhi on Friday, Mr Vajpayee said that India had been forced to deploy its troops "to send a strong message to our western neighbour... that we are determined to end cross-border terrorism and to protect the integrity of India".

"And I can tell you that the message is working," he said. "We'll make sure that it works."

International pressure helped pull the rivals back from the brink, and war rhetoric has been receding in recent months.

Withdrawal

Pakistan's Defence secretary Hamid Nawaz, said on Friday that the withdrawal of troops from both sides of the international border would be completed in the next three to four months.

Policeman runs for cover outside Indian Parliament, 13 December
Eight security guards were killed in the attack
Security has been tight in Delhi for wreath-laying ceremonies and speeches in parliament remembering those killed.

US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill used Friday's anniversary to stress his country's alliance with India in the "war against terrorism".

"That war will not be won until all terrorism against India and America is ended, permanently," he said at a memorial in Delhi.

Suspects

Nine people were shot dead, when five armed gunmen entered the grounds of parliament in Delhi.

US Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill
Robert Blackwill: reiterated US alliance with India
The attackers were killed before they could enter the building itself, where ministers and about 300 MPs were sitting.

India blamed the violence on two Islamic groups fighting in disputed Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Following the attack, Indian police arrested four people on charges of aiding the attackers and providing them with logistical support.

Their case is still being heard by a special court in Delhi with a judgement expected on Monday.

Ties cut

The parliament attack sparked a determined campaign by India against what it called "cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan".

Huge pressure was brought to bear on Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, who, in January, banned the two groups blamed by India.

He promised that "no organisation will be allowed to indulge in terrorism in the name of Kashmir".

International envoys also extracted a promise from Islamabad to permanently end infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC), dividing Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Delhi says such incursions are still going on, but are fewer in number.

It broke off ties with Pakistan in May after militants attacked an army camp in Kashmir, killing at least 30 people.

Mr Vajpayee talked of it being the time for a "decisive fight", and Pakistan promised to respond to any attack with "full force".

Tensions have lowered since then, in part due to intense international diplomacy, but the more than 50-year-old dispute over Kashmir is little closer to resolution.

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See also:

22 May 02 | South Asia
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
13 Dec 01 | South Asia
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