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Wednesday, September 9, 1998
India objects to Annan's remarks
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 India today rejected UN Secretary General Kofi Annans reference to Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that there was no increase in tension with Pakistan as stated by him.
Mr Annan, in his annual report on the eve of the UN General Assembly session, said: "The rising tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and other issues is also a major cause of concern."
Reacting to the reference, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said: "There is no increase in tension between India and Pakistan".
Referring to the recent Indo-Pak talks held in Durban on the sidelines of the NAM summit, he said: "We remain committed to carry forward the process of direct bilateral dialogue with Pakistan".
New Delhis concern was also voiced by Prime Ministers Principal Secretary Brajesh Mishra who said India did not appreciate the observation made by the UN Secretary General.
The spokesman however, termed Annans report as a "routine feature" which is submitted every year to the General Assembly, "references to the Jammu and Kashmir issue have been included in the UN Secretary Generals report since 1993", he said.
In his report, Mr Annan had also clubbed Kashmir issue with the deadlocked peace process in Cyprus, Turmoil in Afghanistan and the stalemate in the West Asia peace process, and listed it as one of the causes of concern worldwide.
The spokesman said both India and Pakistan had arrived at an understanding on the modalities of the dialogue. "The process is expected to be resumed after final instructions are given by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan at their meeting in New York on September 23".
He said it was worth noting that NAM countries at Durban welcomed the commitment of India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, which contributes to regional security, to discontinue nuclear tests and not transfer nuclear weapon related material, equipment and technology".
Apparently referring to UN chief opposing India and Pakistans demand for recognition as nuclear powers, the spokesman said "in our view, the indefinite extension of the NPT, and the manner of finalising the CTBT, highlight the flaws in the current international non-proliferation regime, which legitimises the possession of nuclear arsenals with the five NPT nuclear weapon powers in perpetuity".
India, the spokesman said, was glad that Mr Annans view converged with that of the NAM declaration at Durban which recognised that the nuclear tests in South Asia underlined the need to work even harder to achieve nuclear disarmament, including elimination of nuclear weapons.
The spokesman reiterated Indias position that disarmament issues should be discussed in a global, non-discriminatory framework.
He said the NAM summit had endorsed Indias proposal that an international conference on disarmament issues should be held preferably next year with the objective of arriving at an agreement on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time-frame.
Earlier, the BJP vice-president, Mr K.L. Sharma, said that Kashmir was a bilateral issue and India would oppose any intervention by a third party on this issue. "We wish Kashmir was not mentioned in the annual report of the 53rd UN General Assembly", Mr Sharma said.
The BJP made its stand clear on the issue and clarified that it was not for the first time, Kashmir had found mention in the Secretary Generals report. The clarification came in response to a reporter's question stressing that Kashmir had never before figured in the Secretary Generals annual report.
The BJP leader said in 1993-94, Kashmir had found mention in the then Secretary Generals annual report.
Mr Sharma also took objection to Mr Annan treating India and Pakistan on the same plank. He said Pakistan was being severely criticised on the question of terrorism by many countries. "India wants united efforts to fight terrorism universally", he said.
Former External Affairs Minister and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee flayed the Vajpayee government for its failure to build international opinion after the Pokhran tests to influence the countries concerned to understand Indias security concerns.
Former Prime Minister I.K.
Gujral said he was encouraged to note that Indian and
Pakistani officials had decided to reactivate the stalled
dialogue and asserted that the two neighbours would not
have gone nuclear had the five nuclear powers undertaken
India not to change N-policy: President
BONN, Sept 8 (PTI) India today told Germany that New Delhi would not deviate from its nuclear policy in the interest of its security but was ready for the continuation of a dialogue to bring in "rational, equitable and non-proliferation regime."
President K.R Narayanan, who held talks separately with his German counterpart Roman Herzgog and Chancellor Helmut Kohl, conveyed to them Indias stand on the nuclear issue, official sources said at the end of the parleys.
"We have received a good and positive response from Germany," the sources said adding the two countries were of the view that the nuclear question was not "an issue of deep conflict and divide."
"These are things which cannot be resolved overnight and we are engaged in a dialogue with the nuclear weapon states as also Germany and Japan," the sources said.
The nuclear tests came up for discussions when the progress of global disarmament was reviewed by Mr Narayanan and German leader the proposals put forth by India including its willingness to enter into its no first use agreement, bilaterally and multilaterally, would be taken note seriously by Germany even though they may not lead to "spectacular understanding overnight."
The sources said during discussions on Indias relations with its neighbours, Mr Narayanan told the German leaders that New Delhi had a rational policy towards Pakistan and that it desired peace based on the principles of mutual respect.
The sources indicated that the resumption of the stalled dialogue between India and Pakistan will be "formalised" during the planned meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York later this month.
To a question whether Germany pressed India to sign the CTBT during the talks, they said "there were no detailed discussions on the issue."
Mr Narayanan explained in detail the rationale behind Indias nuclear tests which had come in for sharp criticism by Germany and some western nations.
"We intend to follow our nuclear policy in the interest of the nation," the President made it clear to the German leaders.
Germany was told that New Delhi had tailored its nuclear policy keeping in view the countrys security aspects and any attempt to pressurise it to change the policy would not work, the sources said.
German has favoured a peaceful dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve all bilateral differences and asserted that New Delhi had an important role to play in development of South Asia.
The German stand was conveyed by President Herzog to Mr Narayanan when the situation in South Asia came up for discussion during their 30 minute meeting at the Villa Hammerschmidt, the formers official residence.
According to the minister in waiting, Power Minister R. Kumaramangalam, there "was a meeting of minds" between the two Presidents and that adequate stress was laid on strengthening traditionally close ties between the two countries.
The two leaders also discussed how Germany and India could play a "balancing role" in their respective regions in the future, sources said.
Shortly after the meeting with the Herzog, Mr Narayanan had a meeting with Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the Chancellors office and continued discussions over lunch.
Several bilateral, regional and international issues also figured during Mr Narayanans meeting with Mr Kohl in the Heckel room. The President gifted the Chancellor a "Bidri" vase and a wooden elephant model made in Trichur.
Earlier, Mr Narayanan was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Villa Hammerschmidt with full military honours upon his arrival in a presidential motorcade from the Petersburg Guest House in Sieberberge hills, Europes oldest nature reserve.
Interestingly, Mr Narayanan will be the last visiting head of state to be given a ceremonial welcome at the Presidents official residence in Bonn as plans are afoot to shift it to Berlin in November, a German protocol officer said.
Mr Herzog received Mr Narayanan at the doorsteps of his villa. The two Presidents were then introduced to each others delegations and stood together on a raised podium as a military band played national anthems of the two countries.
The two leaders inspected a guard of honour given by the Guard Battalion permanently stationed at the Presidents Villa.
Mr Narayanan and his wife Usha signed the guest register after which they posed for a family photograph with Mr Herzog and his wife Christiane on the banks of the Rhine.
India and Germany have finalised an extradition treaty and vowed to work together to wipe out terrorism through global cooperation.
"We are hopeful that the treaty will be signed by the two countries in the next few weeks," official sources told newsmen after the meeting among President Narayanan, German President Roman Herzog and Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The treaty was initially expected to be signed during the current visit of Mr Narayanan but there was a slight delay due to technical reasons, they said.
Mr Narayanan and the
German leaders agreed that the problem of terrorism had
to be tackled through global cooperation and took note of
the planned first meeting of the Indo-German Working
Group in Bonn to deal with the issue on September 15.
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