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'Pakistan's offer completely inadequate'

Onkar Singh in New Delhi and Agencies | May 07, 2003 02:17 IST

Official sources on Tuesday termed as 'completely inadequate' Pakistan's announcement of reciprocal confidence-building measures.

The Ministry of External Affairs sources told PTI, "Pakistan has tried to go back to pre-December 13 position but has said nothing against terrorism."

"It is not conceivable to go back to the pre-December 13 position without doing something tangible on cross-border terrorism," they said. The sources said Jamali has mentioned restoration of air links but made no reference to over-flight facilities. "This is an indication of a mindset, which is not very positive," they added.

On record, however, MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said India is studying the CBMs made by the Pakistan and will respond in a detailed fashion on Wednesday.

Jamali had offered to restore road, rail, bus and air links between India and Pakistan. He also promised to hold the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit before the end of this year in addition to holding South Asian Federation games.

Former foreign secretary J N Dixit said that there was nothing new in the announcements made by the Jamali to get excited about.

"What he has said is what we have been saying all along since October last year. But Pakistan has responded to those announcements now. What is important is that Pakistani prime minister, while announcing a series of so-called good will measures, did not forget to mention that Kashmir was the core issue and Pakistan would continue its support to the cause of people of Kashmir. Which effectively negates all the measures announced by him," Dixit told rediff.com.

Senior congress leader Anand Sharma said that the announcements made by Jamali were on the expected lines. "After Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee held out the hand of friendship with Pakistan in Srinagar these measures were expected to be announced by Pakistan. The Congress has maintained all along that the diplomatic channel between the two countries should be kept open and this is precisely what Jamali is saying when he says that he would like to see the two high commissions work to their full strength."

Sharma, however, added, "But we must be cautious in our approach. The Government of India should ensure that while treading the path of the peace, the pitfalls of the previous efforts should not be repeated this time."

Veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Somnath Chatterjee welcomed the announcements of Jamali as 'positive'. "We have said that the people-to-people contact should continue between the two nations. When Vajpayee made his offer to hold talks on Kashmir, the BJP, the RSS, the VHP and the Shiv Sena started making noises about his offer to hold unconditional talks and the very next day Vajpayee added that rider of cross-border terrorism. It is unfortunate the hawks on both sides do not want to give up their rigid stand. We should first start talking and then the other issues can come up for discussions," he said.


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