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December 20, 2001
1943 IST

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India rules out Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting in Kathmandu

India on Thursday firmly ruled out any meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Kathmandu early in January, saying the climate for dialogue is not 'propitious'.

''The situation engendered by the attack on Parliament House (by Pakistan-based terrorist outfits) and the lack of response from Pakistan in taking action against these groups do not create a climate for dialogue,'' an external affairs ministry spokesperson told reporters.

"The question of talking to Pakistan given its attitude and its unresponsiveness to the need for it to take meaningful action against terrorist groups operating from its soil against India, really does not arise," the spokesperson said.

However, she said India was not ready to share the evidence it has got in the attack case with Pakistan.

"We are going to share this evidence with our friends and partners who are united in their determination to fight terrorism," she said.

She said India has shared the evidence with the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France and would share it 'with some other countries'.

Asked about the US pressing India to share evidence with Pakistan, the spokesperson said Islamabad has to take 'meaningful action' on the basis of New Delhi's demarche and ban terrorist outfits Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad operating from that country.

"It is Pakistan that is the epicentre of terrorism in our region and it is for that country to take action against terrorist groups responsible for the attack on our democracy," she said.

She said British High Commissioner Sir Rob Young, the German and French ambassadors met Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer on Thursday and went over the evidence implicating the LeT and JeM in the December 13 attack on Parliament.

"Pakistan seems to be tilting at windmills," the spokesperson said adding, "Let us focus on realities of the situation."

Asked whether the US has given any assurance to India that LeT and JeM were being designated foreign terrorist organisations, she said Washington has indicated that it is 'actively considering' this and taking some steps in that direction.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell had spoken to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh twice in the last two days, she said.

On what purpose would be served in going ahead with the SAARC summit when relations between India and Pakistan, two of the seven-member grouping, had nose-dived, she said it will be an occasion to discuss SAARC-related matters.

"The Nepal government is going ahead with the summit and we will be there," she said.

Vajpayee had told SAARC Secretary General Nihal Rodrigo, who called on him on Wednesday, that he was looking forward to being in Kathmandu for the summit.

PTI

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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