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Prime Minister Vajpayee invites General Musharraf to visit India

New Delhi,
May 23, 2001

In November last, on the eve of Ramzan, Prime Minister Vajpayee had announced non-initiation of combat operations against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.  This was subsequently extended.  It has now lasted for six months.  It was expected that various terrorist groups and organisations, mostly foreign, would see reason, and recognising the imperatives of peace, dialogue and cooperation shun violence.  Regrettably, they have not.

This phase, therefore, is now over. These terrorist groups have hindered the restoration of peace in Jammu & Kashmir and have inflicted misery upon the people of that State. Hereafter, security forces shall take such action against terrorists as they judge best. They will, in the process, continue to exercise maximum care that no harassment is caused to the civilian population.

A gratifying feature of these last six months has been relative peace along the LOC on account of restraint exercised by both sides. There has also been considerable lowering of cross LOC exchange of fire. In this regard, the Government has decided that it will continue to observe maximum restraint as hitherto.

The process of dialogue initiated by the Prime Minister under Shri K.C. Pant shall continue unhindered. Our invitation to all sections in J&K to join this dialogue is reiterated.

India's commitment to peace, dialogue and cooperative co-existence with Pakistan remains unaltered. Prime Minister Vajpayee had set in motion a peace process by his historic and path breaking visit to Lahore in early 1999.

In pursuance of Lahore Declaration and the Shimla Agreement, Prime Minister Vajpayee has decided to invite General Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of Pakistan to visit India at his early convenience. A formal invitation will be delivered shortly.

India is yet again offering the hand of friendship, reconciliation, cooperation and peace to Pakistan, in the expectation that this opportunity shall be positively and purposefully utilised by them.