Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Friday, Sep 16, 2005
Google


Clasic Farm

Front Page
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

Front Page Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

``We won't let terrorism hinder peace process''

Harish Khare

Troops cut only after assessment of ground realities, says India

— Photo: PTI



IN PURSUIT OF PEACE: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at a joint press conference in New York on Wednesday.

NEW YORK: : India and Pakistan have expressed their commitment "to ensure a peaceful settlement of all pending issues including Jammu and Kashmir to the satisfaction of both sides."

The commitment came in a joint statement issued after a four-hour dinner meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf here on Wednesday.

The two leaders also agreed to pursue all possible options for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute "in a sincere spirit and purposeful manner." They invoked the January 6, 2004 statement (the Vajpayee-Musharraf statement signed in Islamabad) and the April 18, 2005 (the Manmohan Singh-Musharraf document in New Delhi) to reiterate "their pledge that they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process."

The statement, hammered out by the principals and aides over dinner hosted by Dr. Singh at the New York Palace Hotel, was read out by President Musharraf before a huge gathering of Indian, Pakistani and other journalists. Before Dr. Singh and Gen. Musharraf made their appearance, senior officials on both sides looked subdued — the first indication that things had not gone all that well. The first Pakistani take on the joint statement was that the peace process had got stalemated.

According to the joint statement, the two leaders "reaffirmed their commitment to the decisions taken at their meeting in New Delhi and agreed to expedite their implementation. They 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 "humanitarian" process.

After Gen. Musharraf read out the statement before the media, Dr. Singh said he was "very satisfied with the outcome."

Earlier in the day, Gen. Musharraf spoke at the United Nations and the tone of his address was clearly unhelpful as far as the Indian delegation was concerned. Though he said many correct things, he also invoked several metaphors and imagery that made the Indian delegation sit up and take note. If his bracketing of Jammu and Kashmir with Palestine was jarring, so was his observation that " resolutions of the United Nations, especially the Security Council's decisions, must be implemented." In fact, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told the media that the Indian side deemed Gen. Musharraf's U.N. speech somewhat incongruent. "There were references which we thought we had put behind us," he noted.

No less helpful was the Pakistani public pitch that the U.S. President George W. Bush should persuade India to reduce its troops in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani diplomat, Jahangir Karamat, even identified Baramulla and Kupwara districts as the two areas from where Pakistan would like India to withdraw its troops.

Mr. Saran acknowledged that troops reduction was discussed. He noted that there was discussion on "specific" points, and that Dr. Singh reiterated his formulation that the issue of security forces in the Kashmir Valley was predicated on "our assessment" of the prevalence of violence and terror. "Public safety and security is the responsibility of the Government. It will be our decision. We have to judge the ground situation" in determining how much forces would be needed in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian side arrived in New York with a firm view that Pakistan had not done enough to stop the tide of terrorism and infiltration from across the Line of Control.

Dr. Singh told President Bush a day earlier that "our belief is that Pakistan still controls the flow of terror and they must stop it for any realistic progress." According to Mr. Saran, the Prime Minister "very clearly enunciated how violence and terror cast a shadow on our ability to carry this process forward."

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Front Page

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |

Newyork Life Tata Safari Dicor Lufthansa Punjab National Bank Plaza Realties JobFair


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu