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On bilateral dialogue with Pakistan

New Delhi
August 03, 1999

In response to a question, the official spokesman recalled recent statements of the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs about bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. Reiterating Government's policy, the spokesman noted that we have always desired a relationship of good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation with Pakistan and it was at India's initiative that a composite dialogue process was put in place last year. The composite dialogue process sought to move the bilateral relationship forward in a broad based manner by building trust and confidence, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and addressing all outstanding issues through peaceful bilateral means. The first round of the composite dialogue was held in October and November, 1998. India had looked forward to it being continued in a constructive manner.

The official spokesman recalled the Prime Minister's historic initiative to visit Lahore and the understandings that emerged from that visit. India had wished to proceed ahead on the path of amity with Pakistan and of carrying forward the dialogue process. This was in keeping with the expectations and aspirations of the peoples of the two countries.

Pakistan's armed intrusion and aggression in Kargil was a blatant transgression of the Line of Control. It compounded Pakistan's aiding and abetment, over the years, of cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It was also a betrayal of trust which has done great damage to the Lahore process. The aggression in Kargil, as also the sponsorship of terrorism make clear the lack of sincerity of Pakistan authorities in the matter of dialogue. Pakistan has thus continued on its path of confrontation and hostility against India.

The onus is now on Pakistan to repair the damage it has done to the Lahore process. The Indian armed forces have restored the sanctity of the Line of Control in the Kargil sector by evicting the armed intrusion and vacating the aggression. It is now expected that Pakistan will move towards restoring trust and confidence by reaffirming the sanctity and the inviolability of the entire Line of Control. The sponsorship and instigation of cross-border terrorism in other sectors of Jammu & Kashmir is also a violation of the Line of Control. It is, therefore, incumbent upon Pakistan to cease this activity. This will facilitate the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the implementation of the Lahore process and a resumption of the composite dialogue. We urge Pakistan to take necessary steps for this purpose. We look forward to a resumption of the composite dialogue process.