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Statement issued by Jaswant Singh, External Affairs and Defence Minister, at the Ministry of External Affairs Press Conference

July 17, 2001

At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the President of Pakistan H. E. General Pervez Musharraf visited India on 14-16 July, 2001.

In keeping with his abiding vision of good Neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan, the Prime Minister had invited President General Pervez Musharraf to walk the high road of Peace and reconciliation. Our commitment to that noble objective, upon the attainment of which, rests the welfare of many, is not transitory. It is that commitment, which was demonstrated at Simla, in Lahore and recently during President General Pervez Musharraf’s visit.

Significant CBMs that were announced prior to President Musharraf’s visit would be fully implemented on our part. It is our conviction that, when put in place, they will make an important contribution to our relations.

During his visit, the President of Pakistan had extensive discussions with our entire leadership. These included three rounds of one-on-one meetings with the Prime Minister and an hour-long farewell call prior to his departure yesterday night. There were also detailed discussions during delegation level talks. All these meetings were marked by cordiality and candour. They provided an invaluable opportunity to both sides to understand each others’ view points, concerns and compulsions.

Our negotiations for an agreed text of a document were seriously pursued. There were long hours of discussions at official and political levels. During these negotiations India did not shy away from any issue. In keeping with the confidentiality, which is necessary for these negotiations, and the maintenance of which is essential for the future of bilateral relations themselves, it would not be proper to go into details. However, it needs asserting that during the negotiating process, India fully respected all established international norms. As a mature and responsible democracy, we negotiate to improve bilateral relations with our neighbours, not to indulge in public relations.

We are of course, disappointed that the two sides could not arrive at an agreed text. It will not be a breach of confidentiality to clarify that this was on an account of the difficulty in reconciling our basic approaches to bilateral relations. India is convinced that narrow, segmented or unifocal approaches, will simply not work. Our focus has to remain on the totality of relationship, our endeavour to build trust and confidence, and a mutually beneficial relationship even as we address and move forward on all outstanding issues, including Jammu & Kashmir: building upon the existing compacts of Simla and Lahore.

It was also made abundantly clear to the Pakistan side during the visit, that the promotion of cross-border terrorism and violence are unacceptable and must cease. Let there be no illusions on this score: India has the will and resolve to defeat all such challenges.

We will pick up the threads from the visit of the President of Pakistan. We will unceasingly endeavour to realise our vision of a relationship of peace, friendship and cooperation with Pakistan.