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June 6, 1999
India, Pakistan rule out war
India today ruled out the possibility of a war with Pakistan, saying it did not share Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharief's views in this regard.
"This is not an assessment we share," an external affairs ministry spokesperson told reporters when his attention was drawn to Sharief's reported statement in Lahore yesterday in which the latter accused New Delhi of thwarting peace talks and where he warned that war was a possibility. India had stated that the June 7 date proposed was not convenient.
The spokesman said India had become a victim of armed intrusion from Pakistan in the Kargil sector and that it was determined to clear the area. "We continue to have different statements from different leaders in Pakistan," he said.
Meanwhile, Sharief said he offered talks to India on Kashmir because he does not want to see the confrontation there to degenerate into war. He had been misquoted earlier as warning or war, Pakistan Information Minister Mushahid Hussain claimed.
''It is the responsibility of leaders on both sides not to allow the situation to slip out of their hands,'' Sharief told journalists in his hometown Lahore, according to the daily newspaper, The News.
"We have fought three wars over the issue. How long will this continue? It is imperative to settle the root cause of the conflict," he said, urging India to hold "meaningful talks" on the issue. Confrontation between the two South Asian nuclear powers was in nobody's interest, Sharief said.
The Indian external affairs spokesperson sought to dispel the impression that the Pakistan foreign minister's visit was being indefinitely postponed. "We will get back to the Pakistani side very shortly,'' he repeated.
Meanwhile, India today returned the bodies of three Pakistani soldiers killed in recent clashes on the Line Of Control in Kashmir.
For complete coverage, please check The Kargil Crisis
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