July 1998 News

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PM Rrules Out Discussion on Line of Control

7th July 1998
The Hindu

NEW DELHI, Declaring that the entire Kashmir was an integral part of India, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today ruled out any discussion with Pakistan on the basis of the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir. He told the Lok Sabha that there was a Parliament resolution committing India to get back the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and the question of formalising the LOC as the de jure border did not arise.

Mr. Vajpayee was replying to a question from Mr. Mukul Wasnik (Congress(I)) who wanted to know if the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr. Jaswant Singh, during his talks with the U.S. authorities recently, had made such a suggestion. Mr. Wasnik said reports about Mr Jaswant Singh's talks had caused concern and the Prime Minister must clear the air.

Answering a host of questions on the Indo-Pakistan relations and issues relating to the post-Pokhran situation, the Prime Minister said Pakistan should have no problem in accepting India's offer of a "no-first- use" agreement. He seemed to favour a suggestion by the Congress(I) leader, Mr. Madhav Rao Scindia, that Asian nuclear powers should adopt a no-first-use declaration. He said it was a constructive suggestion.

The Prime Minister said there was no reason for Pakistan to feel "insecure" vis-a-vis India and pointed out that it was in fact India which had been a "victim" of Pakistani aggression in the past. He also wanted Pakistan to follow India's example and announce a moratorium on nuclear tests. He said Pakistan's position on the issue was not clear as it first announced a moratorium but later changed its mind.

Mr. Vajpayee said the proposed meeting between him and the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Colombo later this month would cover all bilateral issues. While Pakistan wanted the focus to be on Kashmir, India's view was that Pakistani-inspired terrorism should also be discussed. It was a serious issue as it posed a threat to India's security.

About the Trinamul Congress member, Mrs. Krishna Bose's suggestion that India should accept Pakistan's offer of a no- aggression pact, Mr. Vajpayee said there had been no formal offer. The Pakistani Prime Minister had told the U.N. General Assembly that Islamabad was willing to sign a no-aggression pact but there had been no follow-up from that side.

The Prime Minister denied that India's diplomatic offensive to counter the political fallout of the Pokhran tests had been slow. He said India had forcefully and quickly put its views across to the international community. He pointed out that the reaction of the five nuclear powers to India's tests was understandable but they should understand that India's decision was prompted by its security concerns.

Earlier, the Minister of State for External Affairs, Ms. Vasundhara Raje, said the nuclear tests conducted by India were in response to the deterioration of the security environment in the region. A large number of countries had acknowledged India's compulsions and a dialogue was on with major powers. She said India had no intention of engaging in a nuclear arms race. She also ruled out third party intervention in resolving India- Pakistan differences.

PTI reports:

At the outset, the Prime Minister said, "The entire J and K is an integral part of India. Parliament has already passed a resolution in this regard".

He said the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Pakistan-occupied area, was part of the Indian Union, adding that Parliament had adopted a resolution in 1994 to this effect.

On issues likely to figure when he meets Mr. Sharif, Mr. Vajpayee said Pakistan was insisting on giving priority to the Kashmir issue.

"Our stand is that the issue of infiltration, terrorism and sending of a large number of people with arms after training from across the border is serious and directly related to the question of peace and security".

"All these issues should be discussed and will be discussed," the Prime Minister asserted.

Pakistan's occupation of one-third of J and K and its encouragement to large-scale infiltration into India did not indicate Islamabad's sense of insecurity, he said adding Pakistan must change its policy towards India and not raise objection to accepting an accord on no- first-use of nuclear weapons.


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