Powell has changed his views on Kashmir: PM
17 October 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday said he has made it clear to the US that Kashmir was not ''central'' to the relationship between India and Pakistan and Secretary of State Colin Powell also ''amended'' his views. Powell was ''categorically told that we do not agree that Kashmir is a central issue .... He has also made some amendment in his views,'' Vajpayee, who had a meeting with the secretary of state earlier in the day, told reporters after a book release function at his residence. Maintaining that there was no proposal for an immediate dialogue with Pakistan, the Prime Minister said India is ready to discuss the Kashmir issue as part of the composite dialogue process but will not accept it as a pre- condition. ''We want a solution to this issue (Kashmir) without which our relations with Pakistan may not improve ... We are ready for talks on the issue, but it cannot be a condition,'' Vajpayee said.The Prime Minister said though India was also keen to resolve the Kashmir problem, there were other problems that should be discussed with Pakistan.