3rd March 1997
NEW DELHI: India accused Pakistan on Monday of illegally giving away a part of Kashmir to China more than three decades ago and also questioned Islamabad's control over a large part of the Himalayan region.
"Pakistan is in illegal occupation of a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including...Gilgit," Foreign Minister Inder Gujral told the upper house of parliament in a written statement.
"The Indian territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, ceded illegally to China under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'boundary agreement' of 1963, includes a portion of Hunza territory of the erstwhile Gilgit Agency of the state of Jammu and Kashmr," Gujral said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir. India controls two-thirds of the region and Pakistan the rest.
Indian officials say the ceded land in Kashmir enabled China and Pakistan to establish a road link through the Karakoram Highway.
"The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union," Gujral said.
"The government (is) committed to the resolution of all the issues between India and Pakistan peacefully through bilateral dialogue under the Shimla Agreement (of 1972)."
India says the Shimla pact between the two countries bars Pakistan's frequent efforts to raise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations and other world forums.
Gujral's remarks in response to an opposition deputy's question follow moves to resume offical talks between India and Pakistan, stalled since January 1994.
Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said on Sunday he hoped the proposed talks with Pakistan would be the first step towards normalising thorny relations.
"It (talks) is the first step," the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Deve Gowda on Monday as saying in Bangalore, southern India. "We have to wait for the outcome and later chalk out the future course of action."
Asked whether the two nations would discuss Kashmir, PTI quoted Deve Gowda as saying: "We want mainly to improve relations in the areas of trade, communication and transport.
"I hope that the talks would be a beginning of reviving our relationship," he said.
Gujral said on Saturday the two nations' foreign secretaries would hold talks later this month.
He said he hoped to hold discussions with his Pakistani counterpart, Gohar Ayub Khan, at a meeting of Non-Aligned Movement foreign ministers in New Delhi in April.
Pakistan said on Saturday it hoped for an early resumption of the stalled peace talks with India and was willing to discuss a troop withdrawal from a disputed glacier in Kashmir.