Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003
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The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, being greeted by his Cabinet colleagues before his departure for a tour of Turkey and New York in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI
"But for any dialogue to be meaningful, terrorism must end, and the infrastructure promoting it has to be dismantled," he said in an interview to Turkey's only English newspaper, Turkish Daily News.
Mr. Vajpayee said his Government had achieved significant success in strengthening the democratic and developmental process in Jammu and Kashmir. "Only a few months ago, the State elections were held and an impressive voter turnout was witnessed, which is a credible achievement in the context of terrorists' threats to sabotage the election process."
On nuclear proliferation, he said India had consistently maintained a principled position. "We developed a nuclear deterrent in response to our security imperatives. Our nuclear assets are firmly under civilian control. We have adopted a `no first use' policy on nuclear weapons. We believe that it is highly irresponsible to even contemplate the use of nuclear weapons as an instrument of war. Also, India does not transfer nuclear weapons materials or technologies to any other country."
The Prime Minister said, "As far Pakistan is concerned, India has been consistently extending its hand of friendship to that country despite the fact that cross-border terrorism was still continuing. We believe that the two countries should actively promote mutually-beneficial economic cooperation, cultural exchanges and people to people contact, so that the present atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion can be transformed into a more cordial environment, congenial for the resolution of bilateral issues. Of course, this approach has a chance only if cross border terrorism ends," he added.
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