'Joint control of Kashmir out of question'
23 August 2006
New Delhi: Concepts such as 'joint control' or 'joint management,' put forward by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, 'cannot be the basis' of a settlement of the Kashmir issue as the State is an integral part of India. There can be no compromise on the sovereignty of India over Jammu and Kashmir and on the country's unity, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed informed the Lok Sabha in a written response on Wednesday. However, India was committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan in accordance with the Shimla Agreement. 'The Government intends to continue with the present process of confidence building, cooperation and dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence.' On the Foreign Secretary- level talks in January, Mr. Ahamed said India and Pakistan had a detailed exchange of views on Jammu and Kashmir, and agreed to continue their dialogue on the issue. 'The Foreign Secretaries also discussed Pakistan's proposed concepts of self-governance, demilitarisation of three towns and joint management. The Pakistan side was informed that self-governance is embedded in our Constitution. 'Jammu and Kashmir already enjoys autonomy under the Indian Constitution and has in place a democratically elected Government. However, there is only nominal autonomy in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK), and there has been no popular election in Gilgit-Baltistan, which does not even have a legal-constitutional status.' Mr. Ahamed said demilitarisation or redeployment of security forces within the territory of India was a sovereign decision of the Government based on its assessment of the security situation and 'cannot be dictated' to by any foreign government. To another question, he said India was 'disappointed' at Pakistan's continued denial of the presence of and its failure to take action against 'jehadi groups' threatening to operate against India from Pakistan and PoK.