Ceasefire possible if violence and infiltration end : PM
11 September 2005
New Delhi: Ahead of his talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reaffirmed that borders cannot be redrawn, indicating that internal ceasefire in the state could be considered provided violence and infiltration of terrorists stop. Standing by his statement that Musharraf, who he is meeting in New York on Wednesday, was a person he trusts and can do business, Singh told journalists accompanying him on board the special Air India flight, which flew in here, that Islamabad had taken some steps to reduce violence in Jammu and Kashmir but it was too early for him to say how effective these would be. 'We have to judge the situation on the ground,' he said. India and Pakistan must work together to make borders irrelevant through people-to-people contact and border trade. Asked if the ground situation was ripe for an internal ceasefire, the Prime Minister replied 'I have already said that once infiltration is brought in under control and the associated violence is under control, we can look at anything. 'But the first thing is infiltration (from across the border) should be fully under control and violence associated with it must cease. Also for us it is necessary that the infrastructure of terrorism (on the Pakistan side) is dismantled. Singh, who arrived here to a warm reception for a two-day visit before proceeding to New York, will have wide-ranging talks with French President Jacques Chirac tomorrow on subjects including defence, civil nuclear energy, space and trade and investment. India,which has just announced a 2.2 billion dollar deal for the purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft for Indian Airlines, is likely to inform the French government of its decision to buy six Scorpene submarines from this country at a cost of over two billion dollars. France is leading the consortium that builds Airbus aircraft. Earlier before leaving Delhi, Singh said in a statement that India wanted to further strengthen the privileged relations of strategic partnership that existed between the two countries. 'It is our intention to further expand cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, defence, space, civilian nuclear energy, advanced science and technology as well as cultural and civilisational ties,' he said. Singh would also be meeting CEOs of major French companies to convey to them the expanding opportunities for trade and investment in India. The Prime Minister said that during his visit to New York, various aspects of UN Reform will be on the agenda, including expansion the UN Security Council and Singh is to participate in the High Level Segment of events being organised by the United Nations to mark the 60th anniversary of its founding day. He will address on September 14 the UN General Assembly, which is to review the implementation of Millenium Developement Goals adopted a decade ago. 'We view international cooperation and assistance as an essential element in enabling developing countries to meet the objectives spelled out in the MDG,' he said. The Prime Minister said he looked forward to a number of bilateral meetings with a host of world leaders. 'I will be meeting (US) President George W Bush, (Russian) President Vladimir Putin, (Chinese) President Hu Jiantao, (Pakistan) President Pervez Musharraf and others during my stay.' Singhs would also be attending a meeting of prominent NAM countries, called by Malaysia, as also a summit meeting of the India-Brazil- South Africa forum - IBSA, he said. 'I also look forward to the opportunities to interact with the vital Indian-American community,' he said adding that he would utilise his visit to meet CEOs of important American companies interested in doing business with India. He was seen off among others by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh, Raghuvansh Prasad, H R Bharadwaj, Lt Governor of Delhi B L Joshi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and top officials.