India Says No Kashmir Territory Offer To Pakistan
20 September 2004
New Delhi: India said it would not make any territorial concession in disputed Kashmir to old foe Pakistan and denied a report that said it was ready to make changes in a ceasefire line that divides the Himalayan region. The comments came in response to a report in the latest issue of the Time magazine, which quoted an unidentified senior Indian official as saying that India was willing to 'adjust' the so-called Line of Control in Kashmir 'by a matter of miles'. The U.S. weekly said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would make the offer to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf when the two hold talks in New York this week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. 'We have seen an item suggesting that the Prime Minister will offer to adjust the Line of Control by a couple of miles eastwards as part of an offer to help defuse the situation in Kashmir,' Indian foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in a statement late on Monday. 'This is completely and wholly inaccurate. Any suggestion that the Prime Minister will make such an offer is factually wrong,' Sarna said in the statement e-mailed from London, where Singh stopped over on his way to the United States. 'There is no question of any territorial concession being offered by India to Pakistan,' Sarna said. Singh, who took over as prime minister in May, is due to hold talks with Musharraf on Sept. 24 to boost a peace process that is seen to have hit a familiar roadblock over Kashmir, at the heart of decades of enmity between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Officials and the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan have completed one round of talks on a range of disputes but have made little progress over resolving Kashmir, cause of two of their three wars. New Delhi, which controls 45 percent of Kashmir, says the entire region is an integral part of its territory. Islamabad, which rules a third of Kashmir, seeks a U.N. mandated plebiscite to decide if Kashmiris want to merge with India or Pakistan. China holds the rest of the region. More than 40,000 people have been killed in a 15-year revolt against New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of abetting the insurgency. Analysts say that some territorial changes in Kashmir could eventually settle the long-running dispute. But any suggestion to that effect is known to evoke strong opposition among Indian politicians and people.