Military solution to Kashmir not possible: Musharraf
4 May 2001
Hanoi: Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf called on Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong here Friday, during which Kashmir, Afghanistan, trade, mutual cooperation and international issues came up under discussion. Talking to this agency, Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq said the Chief Executive briefed the Vietnamese President on the regional situation. The Chief Executive said the situation in South Asia was destablized due to Kashmir issue. He explained that Kashmiris were engaged in freedom struggle and so far, 70,000 had lost their lives but they continued their struggle for their right to self determination. Gen Musharraf said that a military solution of the Kashmir issue was not possible and that Pakistan was interested in a peaceful solution of the problem between the three parties: Pakistan, India and Kashmiris. He reiterated Pakistan's desire to initiate and resume dialogue with India, and added that Pakistan was waiting for a response from India. He said that the solution of the Kashmir issue lay in a commitment to the resolution of the problem through sincere dialogue. On the situation in Afghanistan, Gen Musharraf informed the Vietnamese President that peace, stability and unity of Afghanistan were absolutely necessary. He said although the Afghan regime might not be accepted universally, Pakistan felt that because of proximity to Afghanistan, it had to recognize any government which emerged in Afghanistan. The Chief Executive said that it would be logical to engage the Taliban and moderate their policies rather to isolate them. Pak policies The Vietnamese president appreciated Pakistan's "Eastward Looking Policies." Tran Duc Luong said that Vietnam was looking for international peace and stability. He said, India and Pakistan should find a way to promote peace and stability in South Asia and work for a stepby-step resolution of all the problems including Kashmir. About Afghanistan, the Vietnamese President said that he was happy to know that Pakistan did not support "extremist" actions of the Taliban Government and that Pakistan policy towards Afghanistan was based on moderation and responsibility. Bailateral relations Referring to bilateral ties, Tran Duc Luong said that these would be mutually beneficial. He said, today's world provided a number of opportunities and challenges to developing countries. The Vietnam President expressed happiness at the agreement that has been signed between the two countries on trade. Pakistan, he said, was a large country with vast population and had made advances in science and technology, and industry. "There exists a vast potential of promotion of cooperation between the two countries," he added. Vietnamese President invited The Chief Executive invited the Vietnamese President to visit Pakistan which he accepted, the dates of which would be worked out by the ministries of foreign affairs of both the countries. Trade ties to expand In an interview, Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf described his visit to Myanmar and Vietnam as 'successful" and hoped that these would open new avenues of cooperation with the countries of the region. "This cooperation would have a positive impact on the economies of respective sides," he said. He said, "We had limited our trade by restricting our trade links to only Europe and the Middle East." He said: "The philosophy behind my visit to the two countries is not to restrict our relations with the West and Middle East alone. We need to open new markets and therefore we are going to look out for the possibilities in Africa and the East, especially in the South East Asia." To a question, the Chief Executive said: "We have been able to project our views on the regional issues concerning Pakistan, and that is, the issues of our relationship with India viz-a-viz Kashmir and our relations with Afghanistan. Other than that, we have explored new avenues of economic, trade and commercial relationship for the betterment of Pakistan, Vietnam and Myanmar." Appreciating the gesture of friendship shown by both the countries, Gen Musharraf said: "We were very well received and welcomed by both countries and we noticed a perceptible urge on both sides to develop closer collaboration in the fields of commerce, trade and commercial relationships. There is also a desire that we maintain, open new trade and cultural collaboration through agreements and joint ministerial commission and we will try to move forward in all directions." Wide Press coverage The visit to Vietnam by Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf is being given wide coverage by the Vietnamese print and electronic media. The warm welcome accorded to Gen Musharraf on arrival and his formal talks with Vietnamese Premier were given prominent time and place by the media here. The Vietnamese News Agency (VNA), in a news report, while describing Gen Musharraf's visit as "most important and successful", has quoted Vietnamese Premier Phan Van Khai saying that the Chief Executive's visit was a milestone in the two countries" bilateral relations. It said, Gen Pervez Musharraf told the news agency that "the outcome of Vietnam's policy were evident in its active role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN-SAARC cooperation programme." The Chief Executive Friday visited the historic "Temple of Literature" situated in the heart of the city of Hanoi. The School was established in 1070 A.D. and used to be the School for the Sons of the Nation. This was a secluded place where scholars came to read, artistes came to paint and travellers came to seek traces of nearly a thousand years of Vietnamese culture and history. The Chief Executive also paid visit to famous Museum of Ethnology where over the centuries, the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam have created, modified and maintained their own rich cultural heritage. The Museum has collected nearly 15000 artifacts from all over Vietnam.