September 2002 News

No proposal for Kashmir panel to visit Pak.: PM

9 September 2002
The Hindu

New Delhi: The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today dismissed the report that the Line of Control (LoC) would be converted into the border between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, saying he had ''also heard about it''. The Prime Minister, who left on a week- long tour to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly session, reacted thus, when asked about reports in some Indian and Pakistani media that there was a move to turn the LoC into the International Border. Talking to reporters before emplaning, Mr. Vajpayee denied that there was any proposal to allow the Ram Jethmalani-led Kashmir Committee to visit Pakistan to hold talks with the Hurriyat leaders there. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, who was also present at the airport, said the Government did not need any intermediaries to solve the Kashmir issue. ''The day we decide to hold talks with Pakistan, the Government will do so on its own. There is no need for intermediaries.'' Mr. Vajpayee said that in his talks with the U.S. President, George W. Bush, and other world leaders on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly, he would reaffirm India''s determination to firmly counter terrorism across the globe. ''Our basic message is that the democracies of the world have a crucial role in countering terrorism together,'' said Mr. Vajpayee, who will be addressing the U.N. General Assembly on September 13. Asked whether Washington was really keen on New Delhi''s request to jointly counter cross-border terrorism backed by Pakistan, he said ''they (U.S.) are saying that they are fulfilling their promise and would continue to do so''.


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