August 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India
Pak not to raise Kashmir issue at world
New Delhi, August 16
“The process of dialogue with Pakistan will continue. We have reached an understanding on the broad framework for the holding of future talks,” Mr Vajpayee told the Rajya Sabha in his reply to a debate on the Agra summit.
For the first time after a long time the Prime Minister seemed to be in his elements and his 40-minute speech was interspersed with his characteristic wit. The Prime Minister, however, again asserted that there would be no compromise on Jammu and Kashmir which he pointed out was an integral part of the country.
“India will not allow another partition on the basis of religion,” he said while making it clear that New Delhi rejected the two-nation theory.
Mr Vajpayee warned Pakistan that terrorism was a double-edged sword and by encouraging it, Islamabad was putting itself in peril.
Referring to recent killings of innocent people in J&K including yesterday’s massacre at Udhampur, he said Pakistan stood exposed before the international community which wanted terrorism to end rather than focussing on the Kashmir issue.
Maintaining that a single round of dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues would not suffice, the Prime Minister was hopeful that future talks would be “pragmatic” and help in “untying knots”.
At the same time, he said New Delhi would not allow terrorism to be used as a tool by Pakistan to put pressure on India. “Talks and terrorist violence cannot go together.”
The Prime Minister said he had accepted the invitation of President Pervez Musharraf to visit Pakistan and the dates for this would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
He said foreign secretaries of the two countries had met in Colombo where Pakistan adhered to its assurance of not raising the Kashmir issue.
Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan would also meet, he said hoping Pakistan would stick to its word on Kashmir in future.
Dismissing the charge of Leader of the Opposition, Mr Manmohan Singh that the government lacked conceptual clarity at the summit, the Prime Minister said leaders at the all-party meeting prior to the summit had extended full support to the government in its endeavour to re-engage Pakistan.
“No leader had then stated that we should withdraw the invitation to General Musharraf,” he said.
On the Opposition criticism that the government had given legitimacy to Musharraf’s military regime, Mr Vajpayee said he had not done anything to warrant such an attack.
If the summit had been cancelled at the last minute on Musharraf’s sudden decision to declare himself as President, the government would have come in for more severe attack for having stalled the normalisation process.
Stating the Kargil conflict had aggravated the crisis of confidence between the two countries, Mr Vajpayee said the “distrust” had to be removed for improving ties between the two countries.
Agra summit, he said, was part of the process to remove the distrust and “we had prepared ourselves from that point of view”.
Regretting General Musharraf’s breakfast meeting with editors on July 16 at Agra, he said this was against “diplomatic etiquette” and vitiated the atmosphere.
On his one-to-one parleys with General Musharraf, Mr Vajpayee said if Pakistan considered Kashmir as the “core issue” then one had to go into the “core of the core” which was one-third of the state illegally occupied by Pakistan.
In any future dialogue, he said India had made it clear that if Pakistan continued with its single point agenda of Kashmir, it would only sow the seeds of stagnation.
It was precisely for this reason that India wanted resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, Mr Vajpayee said.
Mr Vajpayee said he made it clear to the Pakistan President that solution to any issue, including Kashmir, could be achieved through peaceful means.
“I asked him why he feels that a solution to all problems can be achieved through weapons,” Mr Vajpayee said, adding the Pakistani leader was only interested in discussing Kashmir.
The Prime Minister said a lot was discussed on Kashmir and India wanted to know why the people in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were not allowed to decide whether they wanted to go to India or Pakistan.
He said Pakistan had taken a portion of Kashmir which belonged to India.
Pak to raise issue at UN
Islamabad, August 16
Reacting to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s statement in the Rajya Sabha that a “broad framework” for talks with Pakistan had been worked out and an assurance given by Islamabad that Kashmir issue would not be raised in SAARC, Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said Pakistan had not received any proposal from India about the framework.
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