No Redrawing Of Boundaries On J&K Issue: PM
21 December 2004
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: India has made it clear to Pakistan that while it was willing to look at 'possible options' for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue, it would not agree to any redrawing of boundaries or another partition of the country. Making a suo motu statement in Parliament on foreign policy related issues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during his meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York in September, they had agreed that 'possible options for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue should be explored in a sincere spirit and a purposeful manner.' Singh said, 'I made it clear to President Musharraf that while we are willing to look at various options, we would not agree to any redrawing of boundaries, or another partition of the country.' The Prime Minister said he met his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz 'in an atmosphere free of mistrust and terror, building upon the support that we have received from the people of the two countries and without compromising upon our basic national interests.' Referring to his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly session, the Prime Minister said he had emphasised on India's commitment to multilateralism and to its embodiment - the UN. Making identical statements in both Houses, Singh said it was imperative to reform the UN to enable the world body to refashion itself to become relevant to 'our' times. Singh said he had outlined the reasons why India should be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. On the meeting of leaders of India and three other aspirants - Brazil, Germany and Japan, he said the four countries highlighted the need to reform the Security Council to make it more representative and effective. 'This was a significant statement of our intent to participate in the UN reforms process on the basis of a mutual understanding to support each other for permanent membership of the Security Council,' Singh said. Singh said he had conveyed to Musharraf India's sincere desire to pursue the dialogue with Pakistan systematically and on a sustained basis. 'I emphasized to President Musharraf the criticality of his fulfilling the reassurance of January 6, 2004 that any territory under Pakistan's control would not be used to support terrorism in any manner,' he said. Elaborating on the need for strengthening economic relations with Pakistan, he said the possibility of a gas pipeline via Pakistan was discussed and 'we feel such a project would have considerable mutual benefits.' He said technical-level meetings on various subjects were already underway. The two foreign secretaries would meet on December 27-28 to initiate the next round of the Composite Dialogue Process. On his meeting with US President George W Bush, Singh said it was 'very positive' in setting the direction for further development of Indo-US strategic partnership. 'We agreed on the need for expanded economic and defence cooperation. We recognized the importance of working closely in the war against terrorism and proliferation of mass destruction,' he said.