|HOME | NEWS | THE KARGIL CRISIS | REPORT|
June 8, 1999
India invites Aziz for talks on Saturday
George Iype in New Delhi
As the military operations to evict the Pakistani infiltrators from the Kargil sector mounted, India today invited Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz to Delhi for the much-awaited bilateral dialogue to defuse the tension on Saturday, June 12.
One day after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee denounced Pakistan's armed intrusion into Kargil and declared that any peace dialogue would be meaningless unless the insurgents are withdrawn, India set the fresh date for the foreign ministers to meet.
"In response to Pakistan's proposal to send Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, the ministry of external affairs conveyed to the Pakistani high commissioner that its foreign minister may visit India on Saturday, June 12,'' a brief announcement from the MEA said.
The foreign ministerial dialogue was first proposed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief during his telephonic talk with Vajpayee soon after India launched air and ground attacks against the terrorists holed up in the mountains near Kargil on May 26.
Subsequently, Pakistan had set June 7 for the talks, which date was rejected by India.
Though Pakistan has not officially endorsed the fresh date set by India, external affairs ministry officials said Islamabad would certainly accept the date "as it is Pakistan, not India, which is now eager for the talks."
Official sources said the government wants to ensure that the foreign ministers' dialogue to ease tensions along the border is over before External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh leaves for an official visit to China on June 14.
But as Singh and Aziz get ready to sit across the negotiation table, it is likely that there will be some hard bargaining and a lot of harsh talk between the two sides.
Pakistan will certainly take up the relentless air and ground strikes by India near the Line of Control against the infiltrators and accuse India of creating unprecedented tension along the border.
Aziz will also insist that the whole gamut of Kashmir issues, including the eight outstanding issues, should be thoroughly discussed to find a lasting solution to end the crisis in Kargil.
India has already rejected any proposal to bring any issues other than the Kargil crisis into the talks. India has been maintaining that the topic of discussion can only be Pakistan's intrusion amounting to aggression in the Kargil sector.
But Aziz today again said there should be no pre-condition for the talks. He said India's "one-point agenda" for the talks is "too narrow".
Neither India nor Pakistan expects dramatic results to end the tension during the Aziz-Singh meeting. But both countries are now convinced that the face-off eased only through diplomatic channels.
Official sources said it is most likely that the dialogue will pave the way for the immediate resumption of foreign secretary-level talks.
Meanwhile, Vajpayee chaired an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday to review Operation Vijay. It is for the first time since the Kargil crisis erupted that the prime minister convened a meeting of the recently set-up NSC.
The army, navy, and air force chiefs briefed the prime minister on the progress of the Kargil mission. Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Jaswant Singh and top security officials attended the meeting.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK