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June 22, 1999
India intensifies diplomatic barrage to down Pakistan
George Iype in New Delhi
Buoyed by the positive global response to India's stand on the Kargil conflict, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is stepping up its diplomatic offensive to ensure that Pakistan does not succeed in raising the issue at the United Nations.
The UN General Assembly meeting is scheduled in September. And the ministry of external affairs is embarking on a mission to ensure that Kargil does not end up for discussion there.
Though the contents of G-8 communique has encouraged the Vajpayee government to end the conflict, India fears that if the aggression continues for three months, it could easily come up at the General Assembly.
Thus, to step up diplomatic initiatives, Foreign Secretary K Raghunath will visit Geneva and Paris some time next week, where he will brief a number of representatives from Western countries.
The MEA is chalking out a tour for External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, too, in July and August. Sources said if the conflict escalates, Singh will undertake a series of trips abroad to convince world leaders of how India has been dragged into it.
Prime Minister Vajpayee, meanwhile, is likely to write to major world powers once again clarifying India's position. In the past three weeks, Vajpayee has either spoken or written to a number of world leaders including United States President Bill Clinton.
The Cabinet Committee on Security met Monday evening to discuss the government's diplomatic efforts. Chaired by the prime minister, it decided that the MEA should take all efforts to pressurise the international community to isolate Pakistan.
Sources said the CCS is of the view that the government should spent the entire month of July to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.
It also decided that the diplomatic effort should be such that the government does not risk Kashmir becoming an international issue as desired by Pakistan.
Though India is "happy" about the G-8 statement, MEA officials pointed out that the communiqué from the world's richest nations opens a window for dragging the conflict to the UN.
"The G-8 statement is vague and does not name that Pakistan is the aggressor in Kargil. That has given a handle to Pakistan to claim that communiqué has been supportive of their claims," an MEA official told rediff.com
Therefore, he said, India is now exploring the possibility of seeking an elaboration of the statement to clarify that Pakistan is the aggressor.
The G-8 countries had stated that any action to change the status quo on the LoC was "irresponsible". They urged India and Pakistan to resume dialogue to end the conflict.
After the failure of the talks between Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers, Prime Minister Vajpaee had ruled out further negotiations.
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