Monday, November 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

We will never part with Kashmir: Vajpayee
Hari Jaisingh

New York, November 11
In a fresh war of words with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf constantly harping on Kashmir aimed at internationalising the issue, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today categorically said that India would never part with Kashmir.

Highly agitated by General Musharraf’s gambit of trying to wrest Kashmir from India, Mr Vajpayee was emphatic that the military dictator had only one issue in his mind. “He (Gen Musharraf) will not get Kashmir as it is at the core of our nationhood.”

Mr Vajpayee declared that India was competent to give a befitting reply to any evil designs from across the border.

Speaking at a reception in his honour by the American Indian community in the USA here last evening, the Prime Minister put the record straight in unambiguous terms. His strong retort came after General Musharraf concentrated on the Kashmir issue during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly late in the afternoon.

General Musharraf clubbed the Kashmir issue with that of Palestine, Bosnia and Kosovo and said lack of progress in resolving these disputes created a sense of hopelessness among the people of those regions.

Mr Vajpayee said he was harsh on General Musharraf because he saw him on television and got the impression that he was trying to consolidate his own position because of the growing strife in Pakistan by alluding to the Kashmir issue.

He told General Musharraf in no uncertain terms that he could not get Kashmir through terror. He said those who created and supported the Taliban in Afghanistan were now fighting by supporting the US-led coalition against international terrorism besides trying to get favours from others.

Mr Vajpayee drew pointed attention to General Musharraf seeking multifaceted assistance from the USA to bail out his country from an economic morass. General Musharraf had also asked for F-16 fighter aircraft from the USA. He asked General Musharraf what would he do with these aircraft.

He pointed out that India had consistently exercised restraint and that was the reason there had been no war so far. In this context he said while he went to Lahore in February, 1999, to genuinely build bridges of friendship, Pakistan was conspiring to cross the Line of Control and capture the heights in Kargil.

Even during Pakistan’s misadventure in Kargil, Mr Vajpayee said India had not crossed the LoC. “In Kargil we did not give an inch of land though in the previous three wars India returned Pakistani land in India’s possession.”

He said terrorists had spoilt a generation of people in the Kashmir valley. There was Kashmiriyat but now in the name of religion things had gone bad.

Mr Vajpayee was dismissive of General Musharraf’s public posturing for a dialogue with India in New York. He maintained where was the need for bilateral talks in far-away lands. “We will talk in Delhi.”Back

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