Recognisable reduction'' in firing from across LoC
8 December 2000
New Delhi: India said on Friday the unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir during the month of Ramzaan was a positive and forward looking ''new idea'', a Foreign Ministry spokesman said here. Responding to Pakistan''s call for ''ideas'' to resolve the Kashmir issue, the spokesman pointed out that the unilateral cease-fire in the state was a positive and forward-looking ''new'' idea. He also said there was ''recognisable reduction'' in firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) and attempts at infiltration had not taken place in any ''marked manner'' since November 19. ''The Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee''s initiative, announced on November 19, was very positive and forward looking and constituted a new idea,'' he said. The Foreign Ministry spokesman was responding to the remarks made by Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar in an interview to an Indian newspaper that New Delhi should come out with ideas to resolve the Kashmir issue if the formulation put forth by Islamabad was not acceptable to it. In its detailed and calibrated official response to Islamabad''s December 2 announcement of observing ''maximum restraint'' along the LoC, India said - as initiators - it was ready for ''early'' resumption of the Indo-Pak composite dialogue process. The spokesman said the entire approach of the Indian government was towards taking the peace initiative forward and ''we have remained steadfast'' in this. He said India has consistently held that Islamabad has to stop cross-border terrorism to create the right conditions for resumption of the stalled dialogue. The Indo-Pak dialogue process was derailed following the Pakistani incursions in Kargil in May last year and has remained suspended since then. The Pakistan Foreign Minister in the interview termed as ''good decision'' Vajpayee''s Ramazan cease-fire announcement and said it has to be ''built upon''. Mr Sattar said Islamabad has made proposals that could not only extend the suspension of military operations, but also bring to a permanent end the use of force. ''Our proposals would launch India and Pakistan on a course of permanent settlement of the Kashmir issue,'' he added. While firmly ruling out tripartite talks involving Pakistan in the peace initiative on Kashmir, New Delhi conveyed its readiness to have talks with all parties and groups in Jammu and Kashmir including the militants.