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Pakistan's reply unfortunate: India

By Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
October 28, 2003 23:11 IST
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India on Tuesday described Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Masood Khan's statement on New Delhi's peace proposals as "unfortunate and not in keeping with the spirit of the present efforts being made".

"We hope that Pakistan's response to our proposals will be constructive in substance and less robust in tone and vocabulary," external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

Khan had on Monday claimed that Pakistan had already called for the measures that India had proposed.

Asked to comment on the Pakistan spokesperson's observations on the proposed talks between Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and the All Party Hurriyat Conference, Sarna said, "I think the comments are regrettably a continuation of Pakistan's disruptive approach to peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Pakistan, we believe, should deal with our differences and problems with maturity and responsibility and the realisation that continuation of old policies is harmful to its own interests.

"We hope that when we get their (Pakistan's) reaction to our proposals, that reaction will be constructive in substance."

European Union senior officials Javier Solana and Chris Patten, during a meeting with External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, had welcomed India's initiatives, the spokesperson said.

He said the EU officials expressed the hope that these initiatives would pave the way for a resolution of Indo-Pak issues.

Enumerating the follow-up on the initiatives, Sarna pointed out three things.

The first pertained to the chairman of the Delhi Transport Corporation writing to his Pakistani counterpart about the proposal to run additional buses on the Lahore-Delhi route.

Second, instruction had been issued to immigration authorities to allow those above 65 years to cross the Wagah border on foot.ird, steps had been initiated for free medical treatment to the second lot of 20 Pakistani children.

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Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi