Singh, Musharraf agree to pursue all possible options on J&K
15 September 2005
V S Chandrasekar
New York: After a marathon four-hour meeting that spilled past midnight, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf today agreed to pursue all possible options for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue while pledging not not to allow terrorism to impede the peace process. Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly after sending out clear messages on what they want to be done in regard to resolving bilateral problems, the two leaders issued a four-para joint statement which was read out by President Musharraf after the dinner hosted by Singh at his hotel. The statement did not not go beyond the well known positions of the two countries as stated in the joint statements that were issued on January 6 last year and April 18 this year when Musharraf and Singh met in Delhi. The two leaders reviewed progress in their relations since they last met in April and referred to the earlier statements of last year and this April and reiterated their pledge that they would not not 'allow terrorism to impede the peace process.' 'They reaffirmed their commitment to the decisions taken at their meeting in New Delhi and agreed to expedite their implementation. They also welcomed the progress made within the framework of the composite dialogue, including promotion of trade and economic relations, people to people contacts and confidence building measures. They also welcomed the recent release of prisoners on both sides and agreed to continue this process on a humanitarian basis,' the statement said. Ahead of their meeting, both the Prime Minister and the President had in their separate talks with US President George W Bush made clear their positions on what was their priority. Singh told Bush that the flow of terror continued from Pakistan and unless that stopped there could not not be any realistic progress in the peace process. On his part Musharraf had said that there was need for troop reduction from areas like Baramulla and Kupwara in the Kashmir valley maintaining that if there was no no reciprocity on India's part then all the confidence building measures would lose their importance.