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|June 29, 1998||
No question of converting LoC into border, says India
India today asserted that there was no question of converting the Line of Control into the border between India and Pakistan, reiterating its stand that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of the country.
Official sources in New Delhi said, ''Our position is that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India...All discussions (with Pakistan) shall be held in the light of that''. It was the Simla agreement which characterised the LoC, they said, adding the accord provided the framework for the resolution of all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
The sources were reacting to the controversy generated over Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jaswant Singh's remarks in an interview to a private television network, in which the latter reportedly said the issue of conversion of the present LoC into a de jure border could form part of the Indo-Pak talks. Jaswant Singh had subsequently denied having made the remark.
Meanwhile, an external affairs ministry spokesperson said he would go by the clarification issued by Jaswant Singh regarding his remarks.
The spokesperson said India was committed to the peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with Pakistan within the framework of the Shimla agreement.
On the statement of Brajesh Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, that India would take up with Pakistan the question of getting back Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, the spokesperson said, ''What Mishra has said is the official position of the Government of India''.
However, he said the focus should now be on the meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharief in Colombo during the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation summit next month.
The two prime ministers would determine their own agenda and give direction to the talks between the two countries, he said.
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