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Went to UN due to Pak aggression: Sinha

November 21, 2003 21:56 IST

India has said that it first went to the United Nations due Pakistan's aggression and not because Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory.

In an interview to private Pakistani TV channel Geo broadcast on Friday, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said, "You are right in saying that it was India which took the question of Pakistan aggression on Jammu and Kashmir to UN. You are also right in saying that we suggested that there should be a plebiscite."    

"Kashmir had acceded legally to India and after that we went to UN, not because Kashmir is a disputed territory, but to protest the aggression by Pakistan," Sinha said.

"At that time Pakistan had not agreed to the condition that it should withdraw its forces. These talks went for several years but the issue was not resolved," he added.

Sinha said in view of this India believed Simla Agreement constituted the basis for settlement of Kashmir issue.

"Simla Agreement says representatives of both the countries will meet to find a final solution to Jammu and Kashmir. This outlines the process for final settlement," he said.

Sinha accused Pakistan of neglecting the agreement and speaking only of UN resolutions.

Asked about Pakistan's demand, in response to India's latest peace gesture, that UN documents be used by passengers travelling in the proposed Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus, Sinha shot back, "Pakistan-based Kashmiris travel between India and Pakistan as well as abroad with documents issued by Pakistan. Some of them are coming to India and some going abroad. Where does the UN come in between?"

Denying there was any proposal to formalise the Line of Control as border between the two countries, Sinha said India's official stand was that Pakistan should give up its right on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"Therefore there is no dispute on that. If there is problem it is Pak-occupied Kashmir," he said.

Sinha said Kashmir had undergone a great deal of change after UN resolutions as Pakistan had given 5200 sq km of territory in Kashmir to China.

Besides Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf himself said over 200,000 families of soldiers had been settled in PoK.

"Has it not changed the demography of Kashmir? Which Kashmir are they talking about. Can we go back to the situation as it prevailed in 1949?" Sinha asked.

The minister said Pakistan would not be able to continue with cross-border infiltration for long as India refurbished its forces guarding the LOC with electronic monitors and force multipliers.

Sinha said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would visit Islamabad for the SAARC summit in January but would not meet Pakistani leaders.

"We said it clearly that we will hold summit-level meeting at that (high) time when all the preparations were made from the 'bottom level' as direct summits failed to yield results," Sinha said.

"Preparations should be made after Pakistan ends cross-border terrorism. This will create an environment (for talks)," Sinha said.

Talks, he added, would not be successful if one party held a gun 'to the temple of the other'.

Sinha also denied that India acquired weapons from Israel to 'neutralise' Pakistan. "India assesses its defence requirement not simply looking at Pakistan but looking at the entire world. We are nation of billion people... we have to take security from all sides," he said.

He said Pakistan had the 'misconception' that whatever India does it was against it. "This is a wrong impression. We do not have this mindset."

Sinha also questioned Pakistan's claims to achieve military parity with India.

Asking why Pakistan did not talk of parity with other neighbours he said Pakistan should compete with India in terms of human development and not in the sphere of weapons alone.

He said India and Pakistan should use trade and peoples-to-people contact to create environment to sort out issue.

Expressing his happiness over participation of over 70 Pakistani businessmen in the ongoing International Trade Fair in New Delhi, he said Pakistan should reciprocate India's gesture of granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to Pakistan.

Asked why India did not agree to India-Iran gas pipeline project to be laid through Pakistan, he said India was hesitant because of 'lack of belief' in Pakistan providing security for it. Such projects could be considered if Pakistan extended MFN status to India, he said.

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