Statement by the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson on Pakistan's response to confidence-building measures announced by India
Statement by Official Spokesperson
1. We welcome the fact that Pakistan has responded positively to at least some of the proposals announced by our External Affairs Minister on October 22. We are disappointed that they have attached impractical, extraneous or delaying conditions to the others.
2. Based on the positive responses, there would be immediate implementation of the proposals to allow senior citizens to cross at Wagah on foot. We would also initiate further steps for working out modalities for links between our Coast Guards and Pakistanís Maritime Security Agency. We also look forward to bilateral sporting encounters. We will work on the modalities of Pakistanís proposal for release of apprehended fishermen within a month, although we would have preferred to work out an arrangement for their non-arrest.
3. We hope that Pakistan will come to the talks on civil aviation on December 1-2, with an open mind and with the intention of finalising arrangements for their successful resumption.
4. We would look forward to holding of technical level talks for resumption of Samjhauta Express, in the middle of December, as proposed by Pakistan, after the successful conclusion of the talks in early December for resumption of civil aviation.
5. We welcome Pakistanís offer of medical treatment to 40 Indian children. Such offers and their implementation will no doubt enhance interaction and contribute, in some measure, to increasing understanding and empathy.
6. We are disappointed that Pakistan has, in effect, not agreed to our proposals for running extra buses on the Delhi-Lahore route, and establishing links between Mumbai and Karachi, Khokrapar and Munabao, and Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. Such links would have facilitated widening of people to people contacts and cooperation. They could have easily been put into effect through technical level discussions. Holding up such simple steps, and making them part of the Composite Dialogue process, in effect means delaying them. Since these measures are aimed at expanding interaction, widening areas of cooperation and building up trust, we will continue to hope that Pakistan will agree to their implementation. Our offer for a bus link between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was motivated by humanitarian considerations. It is unfortunate that Pakistan has instead opted to politicise and disrupt this by attaching conditions that they knew would not be acceptable. In fact, even now people from these regions travel without the requirement of the kind of documents that Pakistan spoke about.
7. We have noted Pakistanís proposal for a bus link between Lahore and Amritsar. We can assess the requirement for this after progress on Delhi-Lahore bus, civil aviation and Samjhauta Express.
8. We are ready for a calibrated increase in size of Missions, as the requirement grows with the re-establishment of links, and setting up of new ones. However, there is no need to wait for this for holding of visa camps, which would ease the situation for the normal traveller who otherwise has to come all the way to Delhi or Islamabad to get visas. We would urge Pakistan to reconsider this.
9. As far as Pakistanís offer of 100 scholarships is concerned, we believe that the process of building trust and cooperation between India and Pakistan, and establishing lasting peace, would be facilitated if offers are not targetted on any particular region of India. India has never adopted, for instance, a selective approach for Balochistan, Sind or NWFP, or for any particular community. Our offers have been available to any Pakistani. If Pakistan were to make such non-discriminatory and general offers of cooperation, then it would no doubt contribute to taking the process further.
10. We are amused at Pakistanís profession of concern at the plight of disabled and negatively affected people in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. If Pakistanís concerns are really sincere, it should take immediate steps to end infiltration, dismantle the infrastructure of support to terrorism, and offer compensation to those affected by the terrorism it has sponsored. Its references to alleged repression on J&K are obviously only a ploy for its failed attempt to camouflage its sponsorship and support for terrorism.
11. I would also like to reiterate that Jammu & Kashmir is not a disputed territory. The only issue that remains to be resolved for a final settlement of J&K, is the question of Pakistanís illegal occupation of a portion of the State.
12. Despite the limited positive responses from Pakistan, it is clear that our Prime Ministerís initiative has gathered momentum. India would sincerely continue with the process, building on the successes achieved and the support generated, so that lasting peace is established between the two countries. We also remain committed to a dialogue process based on the premise that sustained dialogue requires an end to cross border infiltration and terrorism. If Pakistan perceives, as it has claimed, that Composite Dialogue is in mutual interest, it must immediately put an end to its sponsorship of cross border terrorism.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi