Return PoK before talks: PM to Pak
28 January 2002
The Times of India
RAIPUR: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday ruled out talks with Pakistan until it returned the parts of Kashmir occupied by it in 1948. Read this story in... Hindi''Everyday, I am reading newspaper reports that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf wants to have discussion with me. Pakistan lost three wars and now wants discussion with India,'' Vajpayee told a well-attended public meeting here. ''But when I went to Lahore to give discussion a fresh chance, we were given Kargil and discussion with Musharraf in Agra also yielded nothing. On every occasion, Pakistan said Kashmir is the central issue.''If Kashmir is the central issue, then one-third of Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan illegally. Therefore, they should return that to India first and then start talks,'' Vajpayee said asserting that Kashmir is an integral part of India and ''none can separate that.'' Without naming Pakistan, the Prime Minister said ''One of our neighbours is exporting terrorists into the country but we are determined to root them out as was done in Punjab.''Declaring that the people of Jammu and Kashmir joined India of their own volition, he said Pakistan is sending its people with arms to attack them but ''now no one can separate Kashmir from us.'' The Prime Minister said that keeping in mind the three wars fought with Pakistan, India is now bolstering its defence so that no one could challenge it and Agni missile is a part of that. ''Agni missile is not to attack any country. Rather, it is developed for our defence,'' he said Vajpayee said India went ahead with the Agni project in national interest. Earlier, addressing a public meeting at Sipat (Chhattisgarh), Vajpayee virtually dubbed talks with Pakistan a futile exercise and maintained there was threat on the border.Asserting that India''s peace overtures to Pakistan like the Lahore initiative, were always followed by events like Kargil, he said, ''Our neighbour keeps inviting us for meetings and talks. But I ask them what do we do with meetings if we have to meet to fight once again. It is better to remain separate. ''Vajpayee''s rejection of talks follows President Pervez Musharraf''s calls for a ''serious and sustained dialogue'' with India in his Republic Day greetings to the Prime Minister.He said there is threat on our border and added ''We will defend our country as well as bring development in every field.''