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|July 7, 1998||
Vajpayee rules out converting LoC into border
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today ruled out any discussions with Pakistan on the basis of Line of Actual Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
There is no proposal to declare the Line of Control as the actual border between India and Pakistan, and the government was committed to the vacation of Pakistani aggression, Vajpayee categorically stated in the Lok Sabha during question hour.
Vajpayee said the proposed prime ministerial level India-Pakistan parleys at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation summit at Colombo later this month will cover all bilateral issues between the two countries, including aiding and abetting of terrorist activities by Pakistan.
He said while Pakistan was insisting that Kashmir should be discussed at the summit, India had conveyed that other issues like promotion of terrorism by Pakistan on Indian soil, which posed a threat to India's security, should also be discussed.
Replying to a specific question from Madhavrao Scindia, the prime minister said the government was working on a satisfactory arrangement as to who should control the nuclear button.
Vajpayee said India has already announced that it will not use the nuclear device first while Pakistan had yet to do so in clear terms.
Earlier, Minister of State for External Affairs Vasundhara Raje informed the house that Vajpayee had written a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief on June 14 reiterating India's commitment to fostering a peaceful and friendly relationship and developing a stable structure of co-operation between the two countries.
In his reply, Sharief agreed with Vajpayee's suggestion to hold bilateral discussion during the SAARC summit in Colombo. This meeting would be held in keeping with the tradition of such bilateral meetings between the prime ministers of the two countries.
She clarified that there was no place for any third party involvement whatsoever in India-Pakistan relations. This has been made known to the international community through official statements as well as interaction at political and diplomatic levels.
Referring to Sharief's statement on the issue of no-aggression pact with India, Vajpayee said so far no official communication had been received by the government.
Vajpayee said the nuclear nations' attitude towards India had changed, after the Indian government had explained its viewpoint.
Replying to another question, Raje said 54 Indian soldiers and 5062 civilians were imprisoned in various foreign countries.
She said despite the best efforts made by the Indian government to find out the whereabouts of 54 soldiers, there had been no response from Pakistan.
Raje said of the total 1314 civilians imprisoned in Pakistani jails, about 740 had been released.
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