Forget Roadmap, No Excuse For Third Party Role
26 June 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: India today ruled out any role for a third party mediator or a US- sponsored roadmap to peace - like in West Asia - to resolve the J-K issue. External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha dismissed these suggestions which were made by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Washington. In an interview to television channel NDTV, Sinha laid emphasis on the bilateral route to resolve all issues. 'We have repeatedly said there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue. There is no space for a third party at the table.' Musharraf had yet again called for a more active US intervention to resolve the J-K issue. He, in fact, wanted US President George W. Bush to involve himself in a 'West Asia-style roadmap'. However, in the same breath, he voiced fear that India will not permit this as it wanted a bilateral resolution 'of everything'. At the US Institute of Peace on Wednesday evening, Musharraf put the onus for resolving the J-K issue on New Delhi. Calling Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee a 'partner' in the current peace process, he said Islamabad was aware of its stakes in improving relations with India but at the same time wanted New Delhi to show 'magnanimity' and 'greatness' in resolving the J-K issue. 'The onus or initiative for reconciliation and accommodation is always shown by the larger country... Therefore, I would suggest that the onus for peace in the region lies more with India than with Pakistan.' Stopping short of lauding Vajpayee's peace gestures, Musharraf said he was satisfied with the measures being made to reduce Indo-Pak tension. Hopeful of an early resumption of talks, he said: 'The Prime Minister of Pakistan and I are ready to acknowledge Prime Minister Vajpayee as a partner in a historic peace process.' In playing up India's role in achieving peace between both countries, Musharraf said Pakistan's steps towards compromise would be seen as a 'sell-out' whereas steps by India would be 'a sign of magnanimity and a sign of greatness'. However, in an interview to Washington Post, he had claimed that Pakistan had done 'all it can' to stop cross-border terrorism. 'We have ensured that nothing ought to be happening on the LoC...If somebody were to ask me to give a guarantee that nothing is happening across the LoC, I will not do that. I cannot. It is not possible.' At an interactive session after his speech at the US Peace Institute, Musharraf emphasised the same and also ruled out accepting the LoC as a permanent border between India and Pakistan. 'We have fought three wars over the LoC. You are proposing a solution which is the dispute itself. How can a dispute be a solution?'