October 2005 News

India refutes 'options' on Kashmir

7 October 2005
The Daily Times

New Delhi: 'There have been no discussions with Pakistan on changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir,' a spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday. Reacting to the remarks of Faisal Saleh Hayat, the Pakistani minister for Kashmir affairs, who said India and Pakistan were considering three options, including joint control of Kashmir for an amicable solution of the issue, the spokesperson said that Jammu and Kashmir would remain an integral part of India.'The government will like to clarify that there have been no discussions with Pakistan on changing, in any form whatsoever, the status of Jammu and Kashmir,' the spokesperson said. Faisal had claimed that leaders, foreign ministers, foreign secretaries and even officials involved in back-channel diplomacy have discussed these options, taking Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) into confidence.Meanwhile, India also said there could be no pull out of troops from Jammu and Kashmir unless violence ended and a similar disengagement in Siachen Glacier could be undertaken only when troop positions were demarcated.'I don't think there can be a pull out (of troops from Jammu and Kashmir) unless violence stops,' said Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, when asked to comment on President Pervez Musharraf's demand for reduction of troops in the valley. 'If there is no terrorist activity, there is no reason for the armed forces to be there,' he said in an interview to 'The Week' magazine.On proposals to pull back from Siachen Glacier, Mukherjee said the disagreement was that while India wanted proper geographical demarcation before the troop pull-back, Pakistani did not feel that this was necessary.'If we vacate the posts, and they occupy them tomorrow, how do we establish before the international community that this was what we had?' the defence minister said. In the interview, Mukherjee touched on major issues, including arms supplies to Nepal, threat of fundamentalists in the Maldives and prospects for peace in northeast India. Mukherjee said that if India did not supply arms to the Royal Nepalese Army, other countries might step in and do the same.


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