Manmohan postpones Kashmir visit
12 September 2004
New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has postponed his visit to Srinagar, planned as a stock-taking tour of the disputed region ahead of his meeting with President Pervez Musharraf in New York on Sept 22, official sources said on Sunday. They said the visit was called off because of some by-elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian election commission rules require abstinence from official patronage or announcement of welfare schemes during the poll campaign so as to avoid unduly influencing voters. Dr Singh was scheduled to leave for Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit next week before heading for New York for the UN General Assembly session. Being seen as his first major foray in diplomacy, Dr Singh will meet Gen Musharraf to further bolster bilateral ties with Pakistan, the sources said. He will also have his first meetings with international leaders - US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The sources said that Dr Singh, in his meeting with President Musharraf, would carry out a broad review of progress on eight subjects of the composite dialogue process. There could be decisions on enhancing people-to-people contacts and humanitarian issues. Kashmir would inevitably figure in the talks too. The two leaders have met once in the past when Gen Musharraf visited India in July 2001 for the Agra Summit with the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Dr Singh was part of a three-member Congress delegation that had called on the Pakistan president then.