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Demilitarising Kashmir cannot be unilateral: India
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November 01, 2005 16:53 IST
Last Updated: November 01, 2005 18:29 IST

India Tuesday reacted cautiously to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's [Images] suggestion of demilitarising both sides of Kashmir, asserting that it can't be done "unilaterally".

"It can't be done unilaterally," External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images] after the swearing-in of new Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal.

"After all, they (Pakistan) are in occupation of our areas," he said when asked about Musharraf's proposal of demilitarising the region to provide comfort to earthquake-affected people on both sides of the Line of Control.

Singh also had a word of advice for Musharraf. "Over-verbalising doesn't help. Every second day there is a statement from that side," he contended.

The minister made it clear that he has to study the Pakistan President's comments and the context in which it was made before offering any definite views.

Asked about Musharraf's proposal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] said, "I am not commenting on anything today."

Taking a tough line, the prime minister had Monday night forthrightly told Musharraf that there were "external linkages" of terrorists involved in Saturday's blasts in Delhi and asked him to act against terrorism directed against India.

"India expects Pakistan to act against terrorism directed against India," Dr Singh said when Musharraf telephoned him to convey condolences for those who lost their lives in the Saturday serial blasts in the capital.

Musharraf had called the prime minister shortly after telling reporters in Rawalpindi that Pakistan was ready to extend "unequivocal support" to India in the investigation of the "dastardly terrorist" attack, suspected to have been carried out by Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Dr Singh had bluntly told Musharraf that the country was outraged at these heinous acts of terrorism.

"We continue to be disturbed and dismayed at indications of the external linkages of terrorist groups with the October 29 bombings", Dr Singh told Musharraf.

Clearly, New Delhi's message to Islamabad is that cross-border terrorism must be stopped forthwith and tangible action taken on the ground to prove it was committed to honouring its pledge to India.

Keeping in view India's serious concerns, Dr Singh had chosen to again draw Musharraf's attention to Pakistan's commitment to end cross-border terrorism.

It was emphasised that "violence against civilians can never be justified" and that terrorism would never weaken India's resolve or its commitment to the country's unity and territorial integrity.

Musharraf had while expressing happiness over the agreement between the two countries to open five points along the Line of Control to set up relief camps stressed that India and Pakistan should hold talks to take a "lot more steps" towards resolving Kashmir issue.

The Pakistan president was of the view that the recent devastating earthquake provided an opportunity for the two countries to move twards a solution on Kashmir.

"The military and civilians on both sides suffered damage. We should think of demilitarising. Let us give comfort to those people," he said.

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