June 2001 News

India, Pak in role reversal over J&K

18 June 2001
The Statesman

New Delhi: India won’t shy away from discussing Kashmir at the summit and Pakistan won’t insist on including it in the agenda if New Delhi accepts it as the “main hurdle” in improving bilateral ties. India’s high commissioner to Pakistan, Mr Vijay Nambiar, told Kairali, a Malayalam TV channel, that both sides should take a ‘‘wider view’’ of their ties. The summit’s main objective will be to restore confidence, shattered after the Kargil war. The Pakistani foreign secretary Mr Inamul Haque seemed to agree: “The summit will make every possible effort to continue the talks without indulging in rigidity.” Mr Haque said the proposals for the solution of Kashmir dispute would be discussed at the summit, but the prime need was to develop a sense of confidence “We know Pakistan will insist on the core issue (Kashmir)... We’re not going to shy away from it,’’ Mr Nambiar said. Pakistan must realise that instead of pushing for the core issue, it should look at larger question of the future of both the countries and the region, he said. “Both countries need to look at the future rather than the past. There needs to be a certain flexibility.” Can India go beyond the 1994 parliamentary resolution calling for retrieving territories held by Pakistan? Leaders or diplomats couldn’t change that, he said. It is for the people to see if a “new relationship” can be evolved. “Both sides agree there has to be a change in perception.” Can the LoC be converted into the international border? “At present stage of our relationship, it’d be difficult to propose this. What we need to do is look at the evolving reality.” On Gen Pervez Musharraf’s statement that he was coming to India with an “open mind”, the envoy said: “He’s s trying to say he wants to change. We should take it as an indication of looking at a better relationship. When you translate it into specifics it becomes difficult.” The summit’s agenda would be based on the policy of flexibility, Gen Musharraf’s spokesman said today. “Gen Musharraf...will have no objection to whatever India wants to talk,” Maj-Gen Rashid Quereshi said. Mr Nambiar met the Prime Minister’s principal secretary and other officials to brief them on bilateral ties. Earlier, he met the foreign minister, Mr Jaswant Singh.

 

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