January 2002 News

Kashmir issue should not define Indo-Pak ties: Jaswant

28 January 2002
The Indian Express

Washington DC: The Kashmir problem should not define the relationship between India and Pakistan and it is up to Islamabad to decide the kind of relationship it wants to have with India, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has said. Singh, in an interview to Newsweek magazine, said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf''s speech was for domestic consumption. In terms of its impact on India-Pakistan relations, there''s not much. Pakistan has to come to a decision about what kind of long-term relationship it wants with India. India, said Singh, “Wants a stable, prosperous Pakistan and a Pakistan that is at peace with itself. But if it continues to pursue a path of compulsive and perpetual hostility as part of its national identity, then no matter what reforms it introduces for itself, then, in Indo-Pak terms, what is it to me?” Asked whether the Indian government has room to negotiate on Kashmir, Singh said ''yes,'' and explained: ''We have said we will talk about all issues, including the issues of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. (Chinese Premier) Zhu Rongji has just been here (India). We have an unsettled border problem with China, which is a matter of concern for both countries. We have pursued a policy in which we have said, yes, we recognise each other''s concerns. Let these concerns not define the relationship. Let''s place these concerns on the table, address these concerns and move forward.''


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