Friday, July 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No set proposals on J&K: Jaswant
Referendum ruled out; India for composite talks

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Without mincing words, India today spelt out the agenda for the Indo-Pak summit stressing that Jammu and Kashmir in context of cross-border terrorism and proxy war along with all other issues will figure in Agra this week.

Jaswant Singh caught in different moods.
Jaswant Singh caught in different moods. 
— PTI photo

Addressing newspersons two days before Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf arrives here, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said though India was “disappointed” at the invitation extended by the Pakistan High Commission to Hurriyat leaders to meet President Musharraf, yet this would not cast any shadow on the summit. “I have not seen any shadow”, he said.

To a question whether Union ministers would boycott the tea party in view of the NDA’s decision to stay away, the minister said, “The government will observe all due protocol expected for this event”.

Asked to elaborate what he meant by protocol, Mr Jaswant Singh shot back, “Please ask the Protocol Officer”.

By extending the invitation to the Hurriyat leaders, “extraneous elements” were being brought up in the run-up to the Agra summit, he said.

In an hour-long question and answer session, the External Affairs Minister said India was not in agreement with Pakistan that all remaining issues ought to be taken up after sorting out the Kashmir problem.

Ruling out referendum in Jammu and Kashmir, he pointed out that India had never been shy of discussing Kashmir saying that “Jammu and Kashmir is the core of Indian nationhood, with the Indian Constitution terming it as an integral part of the country”.

“The valley alone is not Kashmir. What does Pakistan mean by Kashmir? Are you talking also about the Ladakh and Jammu areas. There are also the northern areas which have been illegally and wrongly given by Pakistan”, Mr Jaswant Singh pointed out.

Stating that New Delhi had “no set proposals” to deal with the Kashmir tangle, the minister said, “We do not agree with Pakistan that Kashmir is the only issue. We will like to discuss all issues”.

To a question, he said the issue of cross-border terrorism and infliction of it on India “is the continuing concern for India.”

The minister said, “It is our expectation that Pakistan will address itself to the issue of cross-border terrorism. If Pakistan declines, there is no reason why India should give up and compromise on the issue. We are particularly serious about it.”

Expressing confidence that India and Pakistan would address the “totality of relations” between the two countries at the summit, Mr Jaswant Singh said, “There is no element of tension in this regard”.

The minister said India was very clear that it favoured a composite dialogue with Pakistan and referred to the eight confidence-building measures, including on trade issues, Siachen, terrorism, narcotics and Jammu and Kashmir.

“This (composite dialogue) has been our priority and it is clear. It is up to Pakistan to have their priority,” he said.

In reply to a question, Mr Jaswant Singh said the DGMOs of the two countries would meet after the Agra summit since they did not have enough time to make preparations for their meeting.

Asked to comment on the situation along the Line of Control and Siachen, the minister said the DGMOs would discuss these issues when they met.

He said India had proposed CBMs on both conventional and nuclear warfare, which the DGMOs would discuss.

Mr Jaswant Singh dismissed Pakistan’s comments that India’s CBMs, including easing of visa restrictions, were peripheral saying that “people cannot be peripheral.”

The minister said it was India’s firm view that people of the two neighbouring countries should be encouraged to travel to each other’s country.

He said Pakistan had accepted the composite dialogue process and it should not be abandoned.

The minister disagreed with a question on the government’s stand that it would not talk to Pakistan unless cross-border terrorism was stopped.

India had never said it would not talk to Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir. The question of promotion of cross-border terrorism and targeting of innocents was part of the Kashmir problem, he said, adding the “time does not standstill.”

Mr Jaswant Singh said, “India has always said the process of dialogue should continue and we believe and will continue to endeavour because for peace there is no other alternative.”

On the proposed Iran-India gas pipeline, he refuted a suggestion that it was a trilateral issue. It was a bilateral issue between India and Iran and it was not subject to Pakistan’s veto or concurrence.

On the possibility of a no-war pact between the two countries, Mr Jaswant Singh said India had proposed it as early as 1947 and subsequently both countries had been proposing either a no-war pact or a no-aggression pact at various points in time.

The minister said the Prime Minister had said he would not be averse to a no-war pact and indeed would welcome it. But, he said, a no-war pact should be comprehensive to include issues like cross-border terrorism and proxy war. Without these issues, it could not be called comprehensive. Peace is not possible in the face of conflict and war.

On whether Kashmir is the core issue, he said, “It is not the core issue. It is at the core of the Indian nationhood. We don’t believe in denominational nationhood, but in a civilised nationhood.”

He said Jammu and Kashmir was part of India under the Constitution. “How can I negotiate the Constitution,” he shot back when a reporter asked whether it was negotiable.

The accession of Kashmir to India had never been questioned not even in the United Nations while some aspects could have been questioned, the minister pointed out.

India certainly wished to and was ready to discuss Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding that cross-border terrorism was certainly very much part of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked whether there could be any progress in the summit in view of the position taken by both countries, he said, “I am not at all pessimistic.”

To another question as to what was the minimum and maximum he expected from the summit, he said it was for the two Heads of Government to decide what it should be.

Mr Jaswant Singh rejected any outside mediation to resolve the bilateral differences between India and Pakistan saying that this would run the risk of their agenda being imposed on the two countries. “This will complicate and destabilise rather than solve it”, he stressed. To a question on POWs languishing in Pakistani jails since 1971, the minister said India would again press for their release during the forthcoming Indo-Pak summit.

“We have time and again taken up this issue with Pakistan ..... We have again taken it up now,” he said.

He said during the Lahore process, the two governments had decided to depute ministers who would visit jails in each other’s countries to sort out the matter.

“In fact, we had prepared schedules of these visits. But unfortunately, that government (of Mr Nawaz Sharif) is no more,” Mr Jaswant Singh said.




At the signing of the Simla Agreement on July 2, 1972, India wanted the Kashmir issue to be settled first. Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Butto appealed that the Kashmir issue not be treated as the core one after Pakistan's military defeat in the 1971 war. Three decades later, General Parvez Musharraf calls Kashmir the core issue. Prime Minister Vajpayee is willing to discuss Kashmir, but as part of a composite dialogue.

At the time of the forthcoming Vajpayee-Musharraf summit on July15, in Agra, both countries have diametrically opposite views on the Kashmir issue.

Positions on Kashmir


  • Does not consider the Kashmir issue a dispute. Insists that Pakistan give back PoK under its control.
  • India says that the UN resolutions are no longer applicable. This position has been supported by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan.
  • India is willing to discuss Kashmir in a bilateral mode with Pakistan under the Simla Agreement.
  • According to India, Kashmir can be talked  about only as part of a composite dialogue covering a range of issues like Siachen, terrorism, Sir Creek, Wular Barrage, etc. The framework for such composite talks is already in existence.
  • India wants the Line of Control in Kashmir to be made a line of peace and tranquillity. This means that Pakistan stop its cross-border terrorism.
  • Sees Pakistan's offer of a no-war pact as meaningless, considering it is materially supporting a low-intensity war in Kashmir.


  • Wants India to acknowledge that the Kashmir issue is a dispute. Desires that the dispute be settled under the 1948 and 1949 UN resolutions.
  • Pakistan wants that if a plebiscite under the UN resolutions is not acceptable, then the people of Kashmir (Valley) be granted the right to self-determination.
  • Pakistan's position is opportunist. Its stand that the Hurriyat, which claims to represent the people of Kashmir, be included as a third party in talks is equivocal.
  • Wants to discuss Kashmir dispute as the core issue. After pressure from the international community it has relented to fall in line with India's proposal of a composite dialogue.
  • Claims that the terrorists are not under its control. In a cleaver ploy it has suggested that international observers be deputed to assess its position on the LoC.
  • Desires a no-war pact because it fears that India's threshold of tolerance may snap, leading to an all-out war.



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