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India relaxes condition for talks

Source: PTI
May 27, 2003 18:32 IST
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India has relaxed its condition for holding a summit between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, according to External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha.

India had earlier said Pakistan must stop cross-border terrorism and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil before talks could begin.

"If this was a precondition, then the Prime Minister (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) would not have extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan last month," he said in an interview to British daily Financial Times.

"But for dialogue to succeed, it is essential that cross-border terrorism comes to an end."

Sinha said he had offered cooperation with Pakistan to monitor infiltration across the Line of Control.

He said India welcomed reports that Pakistan was taking steps to ban jihadi leaders from entering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The minister said, "If there are elements which are outside their control and which are crossing the LoC despite their best efforts to stop them, then we should cooperate with each other to curb their activities.

"It would be a simple thing: they get information that such and such a group has escaped their net... we have channels of communication through which such information can be passed."

Asked about the slow pace of normalising Indo-Pak ties, Sinha said, "This process should not be seen in terms of deadlines. Pakistan has not set a timeframe and India has not set a timeframe... we both need to give each other a chance."

To a question, the minister said, "When you are talking of a roadmap, we are clear in our minds what steps must be taken both in regard to restoring normalcy and in regard to the dialogue process."

Sinha said Pakistan had not honoured its promise to the international community to end cross-border terrorism.

On the US role, he said, "Tackling cross-border terrorism is our responsibility and we will do it alone.

"We are not treating anyone as a final court of appeal and filing a petition to them."

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