July 2003 News

India Asks Pakistan To Define Views On Kashmir

9 July 2003
The Dawn

New Delhi: Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said on Wednesday that Pakistan should define its views about the Jammu and Kashmir when talks begin for the resolution of the issue , including its geographical contours along with the area that was ceded to China. Press Trust of India quoted Mr Sinha as having ruled out an early Pakistan-India summit besides asserting that India was not shy of discussing Kashmir. Pakistan, he said, should emulate the Sino-Indian model of not allowing a single issue to hold 'hostage' progress in other key issues, Mr Sinha was quoted by PTI as saying. Referring to President Pervez Musharraf's suggestion that India should show 'flexibility' in talks with Pakistan as it had done in the case of Tibet, Mr Sinha said he did not know what was meant by flexibility. 'I would like to tell them in turn that they should perhaps emulate the model we have evolved with China to further our relations where we have moved forward on all fronts and we have not allowed one single issue to hold progress hostage on all other issues,' he said. AFP adds: Mr Sinha ruled out the early resumption of talks with Pakistan, saying adequate preparations were first needed and that Islamabad must halt support for 'terrorism' in Kashmir. 'We should first talk about the talks - how these will begin and what will be the agenda,' Mr Sinha told the Press Trust of India. He said no 'meaningful talks' could be held unless Pakistan put an end to the 'terrorism' by Kashmiri freedom fighters. Asked whether this was a precondition for talks, Mr Sinha said: 'Meaningful talks and cross-border terrorism cannot go on simultaneously. This is a reality which has to be recognized by Pakistan and by the international community'. Mr Sinha denied suggestions there had been no progress in ties between India and Pakistan since Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee offered on April 18 a 'hand of friendship' to Pakistan. He said the appointment of ambassadors between the two countries and the resumption (from Friday) of a bus service between New Delhi and Lahore were concrete steps. But he said the movement towards dialogue had to be step-by-step. Asked if India would accept converting the Line of Control as the international border, Mr Sinha answered the government was bound by a parliamentary resolution that said the whole of Kashmir, including the part held by Pakistan, belonged to India. 'We have a parliament resolution and we are not thinking beyond that. We should study what has happened in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Northern Areas under Islamabad's control,' he said. Separately, Mr Sinha said he hoped 'better sense' would prevail and Pakistan would reciprocate India's granting of most favoured nation trading status, saying Islamabad's resistance on the issue went against agreements of the World Trade Organization and the South Asian Association for Regional Corporation. Pakistan links the granting of such trade rights to India to progress on bilateral issues, particularly Kashmir.


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