Saturday, June 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee rejects US roadmap on Kashmir
Says Sikkim to cease to be issue with China
M. K. Razdan

Shanghai, June 27
Mr Vajpayee today rejected Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s suggestion for a US-sponsored roadmap on the lines of West Asia to resolve the Kashmir issue.

“I do not see the possibility or the necessity (of such a plan),” he said at a press conference here when asked about the Pakistani ruler’s statement made in Washington.

General Musharraf had told a US TV channel that he would like US President George W. Bush to involve himself in a West Asia-style “roadmap” on Kashmir, but feared India would not allow that as it wanted bilateral resolution “of everything”.

Mr Vajpayee said “very few issues” connected with Pakistan had been raised during his discussions with the Chinese leadership. “My visit wasn’t Pakistan-centric,” he said.

Mr Vajpayee said there was no decision yet on sending Indian troops to Iraq. A decision would be taken only after his return to India, he said.

Indicating the possibility of China recognising Sikkim as part of India, Mr Vajpayee said the “process” by which the north-eastern state “will cease to be an issue” had started while maintaining that on Tibet New Delhi had stuck to its consistent stand.

Disagreeing with the suggestion that India had got nothing from the Chinese leadership on the question of Sikkim, he said with the signing of the protocol for trade through this state, “we have also started the process by which Sikkim will cease to be a issue in Indo-Chinese relations”.

Mr Vajpayee’s reference to the general election next year once again rekindled media interest in the BJP’s flip-flop on projecting him and his deputy L. K. Advani jointly at the next elections.

“In some areas we have not performed well and we are attempting to address them. If we can get another five-year term, we will fulfil them,” Mr Vajpayee said while responding to a question as to why India and China were far apart economically even though both embarked on the path of development almost at the same time. — PTI


PM returns from China

New Delhi, June 27
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee returned here today from his six-day official visit to China.

During his visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in a decade, Mr Vajpayee signed a historic trade protocol opening border trade between the two countries from Nathu La in Sikkim and a joint declaration pledging to resolve the vexed border problem speedily.

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