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August 7, 2000
Talks with Pak only in 'conducive atmosphere', says PM
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that his government was "doubly determined" to pursue the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir and keep up the fight against terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, but rejected any dialogue with Islamabad unless a "conducive atmosphere" was created for it.
New Delhi had shown exemplary tolerance, patience and restraint in the face of extreme provocation by Islamabad, he said, adding, "We have shown a degree of generosity that few other countries can match."
"Unfortunately, Pakistan has misread our generosity and our desire for friendly relations as weakness and has adopted cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy to launch a terrorist campaign in different parts of India," he said in the Rajya Sabha while replying to clarifications on his statement on the recent spate of killings including of Amarnath yatris in Jammu and Kashmir.
"But these killings have not and will not deter us," Vajpayee said. "We are committed to protecting our national interests and preserving the national unity and none should doubt that we have the means to do so."
Opposition members, mainly from Congress, said they were dissatisfied with the reply and vociferously demanded a judicial inquiry into the killings.
They went on shouting their demand for nearly 20 minutes as the prime minister watched in silence. As the clock struck one, Chairman Krishan Kant said he was adjourning the House for lunch.
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