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Press Release issued by the External Affairs Ministry on the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir

December 5, 2000
New Delhi

On November 19, 2000, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced that the Indian security forces would not initiate operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramazan.  He had also then said that India would continue with its efforts to normalise the situation, and had urged a return to the path of peace.  He had also expressed a hope that, along the LoC, too, infiltration would cease.

On December 2, 2000, the Government of Pakistan responded, through its Foreign Secretary, Mr. Inamul Haq, who in a press conference issued a statement conveying that their armed forces “deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir will observe maximum restraint”.  The High Commissioner of India in Islamabad was subsequently invited to the Pakistan Foreign Office and handed over a copy of the statement.

The Government of Pakistan has also clarified that “there is nothing new but there are new ways of saying things”, and that there was not any “basic shift in the policies of Pakistan”.  We, too, do not find anything substantially different in Pakistan’s announcement from what they have earlier been saying.  Our security forces have always exercised utmost restraint in the face of persistent provocation and violations of the LOC, they will continue to do so.  Attempts, however, to misuse this phase and push terrorists will be robustly met.  The government wishes to reiterate that there is no role of any kind for any third party here.

The Government hopes that this statement of Pakistan is the precursor of a meaningful change in its attitude.  We expect Pakistan to address our concerns and also those of the international community about cross-border terrorism, infiltration into India, and aiding and abetment of violence.  We note that Pakistan is reaffirming its commitment to “earlier agreements”.  That is why a clear reaffirmation of and adherence to the Simla Agreement, and the Lahore Declaration would only be logical.

A dialogue, too, has been proposed.  India, as the initiator of dialogue remains committed to an early resumption of the composite dialogue process between the two countries.

It is our hope that with all the initiatives for restoration of peace and normalcy taken by Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee, Pakistan would now be persuaded to cease promotion of cross border terrorism so as to create an environment suitable for resumption of the composite dialogue.

Government has always conveyed its readiness to have talks with all parties and groups in Jammu & Kashmir, including also the militants.  The government’s desire in this regard is reiterated.  The modalities of these talks, will be decided by the Government of India.  It is abundantly clear that there is, in this, no room for what are termed as “tripartite talks”.

The Government is committed to the peace process and will remain steadfast in that approach.  Upon conclusion of the month of Ramazan the Government will review the situation and then announce its further course of action.