May 2005 News

Musharraf's proposal to demilitarise Kashmir

29 May 2005
The Daily Times

Islamabad: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that his government would make 'full and sincere efforts' to resolve all bilateral issues by dialogue. He also praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's proposal to demilitarise a part of Kashmir and give it autonomy, saying these proposals could be considered if the India-Pakistan dialogue remained on track.Addressing a press conference in Shimla, Manmohan indicated it was possible to increase the frequency of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.About Siachen the Indian prime minister, without being specific about withdrawing the Indian Army from Kashmir, said the defence secretaries of both countries had met in Islamabad on the issue. Indian Defence Secretary Ajai Vikram Singh, who met his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (r) Tariq Wasim Ghazi on Friday on Siachen, would possibly return on Sunday 'and then I will find out from him how the talks went', he added.Relations between India and Pakistan 'are improving and our full and sincere endeavour will be to resolve all problems through talks', he said. Acknowledging that hurdles did occur, Manmohan however said, 'We are trying to strengthen the understanding and confidence-building measures and increase people- to-people contact.'About the functioning of his government and bickering within the coalition, Manmohan said his government was 'enjoying good relations' with its Left colleagues. 'Although their perspective sometimes differs from ours, we have been able to resolve problems amicably,' he said.Manmohan said he was optimistic and 'we will work together for the ideals laid down under the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)'. He said there was a coordination committee to oversee the implementation of the CMP, but the committee was at the central level and could not be extended to the states.Rejecting suggestions that the Left parties, supporting his government from the outside, were sabotaging its economic policies, the Indian prime minister said the coalition was able to resolve all problems in the last one year. 'I have no doubt that the future will be any different from the last year,' he said.


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