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Vajpayee will not retire: BJP chief

May 30, 2003 23:24 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party president M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday denied that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would retire if his peace initiative with Pakistan failed.

"For the sake of Pakistan, why should Shri Vajpayeeji retire?" Naidu asked at a press conference in Hyderabad, at the close of the two-day national level meeting of the party.

"Indo-Pak relations have become a contentious issue. However, India is committed to stamp out terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It will take time to crush terrorism."

Asked whether the bilateral ties will improve, Naidu said he was optimistic. "We want friendship with Pakistan, but this requires a positive atmosphere. If Pakistan is serious about it. it must stop support for terrorists and it must dismantle the terrorist training camps. You cannot have talks on one side and firing on the other side."

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad