Fresh move to improve ties with
New Delhi, October 22
The decisions were taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which met today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, who attended the CCS meeting along with other committee members, announced the following 12 proposals, cleared by the CCS:
Resident Pakistan High Commissioner Aziz Khan was briefed about the proposals before they were made public.
He was called to the Ministry of External Affairs and was given details of the proposals by Mr Yashwant Sinha.
An important feature of the Indian proposals is that all the dozen proposals are focused on people-to-people contact, in stark contrast to Gen Musharraf’s record on Kashmir.
The Indian strategy is clear: to woo the Pakistani public and win their hearts and minds while handing out a stern message to Pakistan that it would not succumb to any blackmail or threat on the issue of Kashmir and will not make any compromise on combating cross-border terrorism.
Mr Sinha made it clear that the talks on the resumption of the Samjhauta Express — which Islamabad is so keen on could take place only after the successful completion of negotiations on the civil aviation links and overflight.
The minister also clarified that the Indian proposal for a Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was a reiteration of pre-Agra Summit talks and did not in any way amount to India accepting the Line of Control as the International border. Visa and other issues for this bus service are yet to be worked out.
Islamabad, October 22
A Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman in a brief statement said Islamabad had taken note of a series of proposals announced by India.
He said that Pakistani response to “any proposal that is substantive and unconditional and genuinely designed to improve relations will as always be positive”.
The spokesman, however, said that Pakistan was “disappointed that while making these proposals, India has simultaneously reiterated its rejection of Pakistan’s offer to resume substantive and sustained dialogue to resolve all issues, notably the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”