June 2002 News

Kashmir not a religious issue: PM

20 June 2002
The Hindu

NEW DELHI: The Kashmir question had no religious dimension, the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today told his Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohammad. In a telephonic talk with the Malaysian Premier, Mr. Vajpayee said India had more Muslims than Pakistan and less than 5 per cent of Indian Muslims lived in Jammu and Kashmir. During the call, initiated from the Malaysian side and lasting 10 minutes, Mr. Vajpayee insisted that problems between India and Pakistan were bilateral in nature and must be resolved within a bilateral framework. His remarks come amid hints of Malaysian diplomatic activism on the Indo-Pak. tensions. Detailing the latest developments on India''s western borders, Mr. Vajpayee said India was engaged in an ''all-out war against terrorism''. Reiterating that India did not want a military confrontation with Pakistan, he said India was looking for an end to cross-border terrorism. Referring to the recent pledges from the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, to end cross-border terrorism, Mr. Vajpayee said, ''we await his actions in implementing these promises''.


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