November 2001 News

We''ll never hand over Kashmir: PM

27 November 2001
The Asian Age

New Delhi: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said categorically in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that India would not allow another partition of Kashmir. The Prime Minister said Islamabad’s demand to hand over Kashmir to improve ties between the two countries was “not acceptable.” He said India had been constantly trying to improve relations with Pakistan. “Musharraf may be having his own problems, but India’s efforts to improve ties with Pakistan will continue,” he said. Winding up the two-day discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, the Prime Minister said India sought a greater role in the establishment of a broad-based, fully representative, non-aligned regime in Kabul that would not promote terrorism. “True, we are not a frontline state, but we sought to be involved about its (Afghanistan’s) future,” Mr Vajpayee told the House. On Kashmir, Mr Vajpayee told the Opposition to remain united and said though there may be differences, they should not give in to attempts to create confusion among the masses. As the Prime Minister referred to the Left parties while saying that there should not be “two opinions” on Kashmir, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Nilotpal Basu intervened and accused the Prime Minister of distorting “my statement.” “I am not distorting any statement,” Mr Vajpayee replied. “We oppose terrorism, we never said we support terrorism,” Mr Basu said. Mr Vajpayee replied, “Good, I congratulate you for this.” Mr Vajpayee said India was for the protection of the territorial integrity of Afghanistan. He said India was of the view that the Taliban must not have any role to play in the new dispensation because of their support of terrorist activities. He then clarified that he had never talked about a “moderate Taliban” being part of the new regime. What he meant, Mr Vajpayee said, was moderate people who could not raise their voices under Taliban rule. Referring to RJD MP Jnaneshwar Mishra’s remark that Mr Vajpayee’s letter to US President George W. Bush after the October 1 terrorist attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly read, “Huzur hamari bardast karne ki seema paar ho rahi hai,” the Prime Minister said his letter was not a plea but a warning to the US. “It was quite necessary that we should address the US about the acts of Pakistan. We had to tell the world that our patience is running out and we will not tolerate such terrorist acts any more,” Mr Vajpayee said, adding that there had been a perceptible change in the situation after his letter to the US President. Mr Vajpayee described the Opposition’s criticism of his letter to the US President as “foolish and laughable.”


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