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July 18, 1999
India firm on pre-conditions for talks
India today said the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Kargil would by itself not lead to a resumption of the so-called Lahore process of bilateral talks unless Islamabad fulfils certain other pre-conditions to infuse mutual trust.
"We have already spelt out a sequence of steps for Islamabad for opening the way for dialogue and would like to see tangible results on the ground before any talks can be held," an external affairs ministry spokesman said in New Delhi.
He said withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the Indian side of the Line of Control was just one of the conditions. "Pakistan also needs to reaffirm the sanctity and inviolability of the LoC and stop aiding and abetting cross-border terrorism," he said.
Cross-border terrorism targeting innocent people is also a violation of the sanctity of LoC, he asserted.
The spokesman said no meeting has been scheduled between External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) meeting.
"The ASEAN regional forum meeting and its dialogue partners also throw up opportunities for bilaterals. The external affairs minister will get opportunities to talk to his counterparts from other countries," the spokesman said, but added that it was difficult for now to contemplate any talks with Pakistan.
The ASEAN meeting is to be held in Singapore later this month.
Judgement on the Kargil issue has come from the international community which has blamed Pakistan for violating the LoC, the spokesman said when asked to comment on reports from Islamabad that India had "made a fool of itself" on the issue. "We have to see the reality on the ground. How it is packaged in Pakistan is of no importance to us," he said.
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