NEW DELHI, India, Feb. 22, Reuter: Indian President Ramaswamy Venkataraman charged on Monday that Pakistan is helping freedom fighters and secessionists in India as well as continuing secret efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

And while noting progress by relations with the United States, he spoke of “the seriousness of our concern about the supply of armaments to Pakistan notwithstanding that country’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons”,

Speaking before both Houses of Parliament at the start of the annual budget session, Venkataraman, 77, gave a “State of the Nation” address ranging widely over problems facing India.

“The foremost task is to crush “violence” and isolate the secessionists,” he said, referring to violence in Punjab and the northeastern state of Tripura. “There can and will be no compromise over the nation’s integrity and unity”.

He spoke of India’s hopes of promoting trust and friendship with Pakistan, but added: “Unfortunately our efforts in this direction have been hampered, and many of our initiatives thwarted.

“Pakistan continues its clandestine efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. They also continue to assist freedom fighters and secessionists in India.

“Is this the path of friendship and cooperation?” the President asked.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 26, 1988