|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
|June 2, 1999||
Diplomatic efforts on to free Nachiketa: PM
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Bombay
The government is making all diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa, the Indian Air Force pilot who is in Pakistan custody, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told reporters in Bombay this morning.
Speaking briefly after the launch of INS Mysore, the newest ship in the Indian navy's fleet, he said the operations in Kargil would continue till the Pakistan intruders were evicted from the Indian posts they have occupied since May 8.
The prime minister said he was not sure when Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz would arrive in New Delhi for talks, but said India was ready for discussions at any time, "but without preconditions."
When one reporter asked if nuclear weapons could be used should the conflict escalate, the prime minister said, "Yeh pagalpan ke baatein hain (this is madness)."
Defence Minister George Fernandes, who was also present at the rain-drenched ceremony at Lions Gate, south Bombay, said India would consider Pakistan's request for safe passage for the intruders if Islamabad made such a request.
Fernandes also said the Indian army would drive the intruders out of the Kargil heights, "dead or alive."
The prime minister felt the bus diplomacy which he had initiated in February had not failed. "This is a temporary setback for India-Pakistan relations," he said. "but it will not be like this in the long run."
He clarified that war-like conditions existed in the Kargil sector, but a state of war did not exist between India and Pakistan.
"I hope there will not be full fledged war," the prime minister said.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK