India rules out tripartite talks on Kashmir
15 January 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: INDIA HAS nipped in the bud Islamabad's bid to project the Hurriyat delegation's proposed visit to Pakistan as an exercise aimed at preparing ground for a tripartite dialogue on Kashmir. 'We would like to make it clear that there is no question of a tripartite process and India rejects the very notion of tripartite talks,' a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs told newspersons here tonight. His remarks came in the backdrop of Indian High Commissioner Vijay Nambiar's courtesy call in Islamabad earlier in the day on the Pak military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. However, the spokesman reiterated New Delhi's desire for resumption 'at an early date' of the composite Indo-Pak dialogue process. But for that to happen 'cessation of cross border terrorism...to create an appropriate environment was an obvious requirement,' he emphasised. However, the MEA spokesman did not confirm whether India's blunt rejection of any tripartite engagement on Kashmir was also conveyed to Gen Musharraf by Mr Nambiar. The spokesman said his comments on the subject were in response to a question posed to him on the Pak Foreign Office's January 12 statement in which Islamabad had tended to paint the Hurriyat's Islamabad visit as a precursor to tripartite talks on Kashmir. The prepared MEA statement was read out by its spokesman at a hurriedly convened Press conference after a high-level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to take stock of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. There was no official word about what transpired at the high-level consultations. But from all available indications, it seemed that the Hurriyat leader's journey to Pakistan might not materialise as early as initially expected. According to sources, the question of providing passports to all the five-members of the Hurriyat's designated-team did not figure at the deliberations. Yet, it is well known that the inclusion of Syed Ali Geelani in the conglomerate's delegation has put the Government in a spot, more so on account of the Jamaat-e-Islami leader's open support of mercenary groups and the attempt yesterday on the life of J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Just a day before bombs were hurled at a meeting he was addressing in Srinagar, Dr Abdullah had questioned the utility of the Hurriyat's Pak mission. The two-hour deliberations on Kashmir were attended by four of the five members of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)- the PM, Home Minister L K Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh- besides the PM's principal secretary Brajesh Mishra and other senior officials.