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'War on terror 'mistaken', resolve Kashmir dispute'

world Updated: Jan 15, 2009 14:37 IST
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In comments made ahead of a speech in Mumbai, British Foreign Minister David Miliband on Thursday said a “resolution of the dispute over Kashmir” was needed in order to fight the terrorist group Lashker-e-Taiba.

“Lashker-e-Taiba has roots in Pakistan and says its cause is Kashmir,” Miliband said in an article that calls the 'war on terror' a mistake and argues that Islamic terrorists are guided by different motives and therefore need different strategies.

Miliband, who is on a three-day trip to India since Tuesday, said the phrase 'war on terror' implied that the correct response to terrorism was “primarily military” but that US General David Petraeus “told me and others in Iraq the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife.

“Similar issues are raised by the debate about the response to the Mumbai attacks. Those who were responsible must be brought to justice and the government of Pakistan must take urgent and effective action to break up terror networks on its soil,” he said in an article published in the pro-Labour Guardian newspaper Thursday.

“But on my visit to South Asia this week, I am arguing that the best antidote to the terrorist threat in the long term is cooperation. Although I understand the current difficulties, resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders.”

Miliband said the phrase 'war on terror' was “misleading and mistaken”.

“The idea of a 'war on terror' gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida. The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate.”

In an implicit criticism of the outgoing Bush Administration in the US, Miliband said: “We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society.

“We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of Guantanamo and it is why we welcome president-elect (Barack) Obama's commitment to close it.”