Saturday, July 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM tells DGMO to visit Pak
To discuss cross-border terrorism
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 6
In a significant development, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today proposed to Pakistan to constitute a high-level Expert Group on ‘Security Concepts and Nuclear Confidence Building Measures’ and instructed Director General Military Operations (DGMO) to visit Islamabad to discuss all issues, including cross-border terrorism that are vital to peace and tranquility along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister has instructed Director General Military Operations Lt-Gen G.S. Sihota to visit Pakistan to meet his counterpart at an early date of mutual convenience so that the processes for peace along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) can be strengthened further and stabilised, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Nirupama Rao said here briefing newspersons about Mr Vajpayee’s initiative.

Mrs Rao said Mr Vajpayee had instructed that an official dialogue should be proposed to Pakistan immediately.

The Prime Minister has stressed that in addition to the official, non-official exchanges should also be encouraged, Mrs Rao said adding that the Ministry of External Affairs will initiate action accordingly.

Explaining the DGMO’s visit, the spokesperson said the establishment of durable peace and stability between India and Pakistan was vital for both countries. “Violence continues to be fomented in Jammu and Kashmir from beyond borders”, Mrs Rao said adding that “this must cease”.

The spokesperson said “we are not ruling out the DGMO visit before the summit” and pointed out that exact dates would be finalised at a mutually convenient date.

She said there was “relatively quiet” prevailing along the LoC and AGPL in Jammu and Kashmir but added that violence continued to be fomented from “beyond our borders”.

Asked whether cross-border terrorism would be discussed at the DGMO’s meeting, she said “obviously”.

It would be for the first time that the DGMO would be visiting Pakistan and it is expected that Lt General Sihota would meet his counterpart before the summit on July 15.

The decision to depute the DGMO to Islamabad for discussions on all aspects of security and stability related measures, including stopping of violence and cross-border terrorism in Kashmir was taken up after the Prime Minister had a meeting with the three services chiefs here last night. A number of confidence-building measures were discussed at the meeting.

Over the issue of a possible meeting between General Musharraf and Hurriyat leaders during his visit to India next week, the spokesperson said: “It is important to ensure that correct priorities are not lost sight of and extraneous issues should not be given importance”.

India has expressed its displeasure over the issue.

Asked to react on Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman’s comment that Hurriyat leaders had been invited in the past, Mrs Rao said: “We have seen the statement. Our views on this are well known, adding that Pakistan had been conveyed India’s position on this issue.

Meanwhile, a marathon session lasting over four hours is planned between Mr Vajpayee and General Musharraf at the Agra summit on July 15.

This long session will start with a one-to-one meeting between the two leaders, followed by delegation-level talks lasting till 4 pm on July 15.

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