No talks as ‘border terrorism’ still on: India
NEW DELHI: Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said on Thursday talks with Pakistan had not begun because Islamabad had done “nothing at all” to stop “cross-border terrorism” in Kashmir.
Speaking on BBC World’s Hard Talk programme, Mr Sinha said peace talks with Islamabad had not started “for the simple reason that Pakistan has done nothing, nothing at all, to stop cross-border terrorism,” a Press Trust of India (PTI) report said.
“By offering that hand of friendship and giving a chance to Pakistan to come clean on cross-border terrorism, (Indian) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was giving another opportunity... which Pakistan has not grasped,” he said.
In April Mr Vajpayee offered a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan, ending 17 months of hostilities that followed a militant attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. Mr Sinha made it clear that policy on Pakistan “cannot be a single button” policy as India has to deal with its neighbour on a “wide variety of fronts”.
But he said the peace process was still on. “We have not been boxed into a corner. We have all our options open,” he said. “As far as the peace process is concerned, we are going ahead with it and we will continue to go ahead with it. We are encouraging a lot of things and we are taking a number of steps... it (the peace process) is not mired in quick sand.” However progress would be slow, Mr Sinha said. “What we need with Pakistan is not one round of dialogue but a sustained dialogue over a period of time.
“We are making progress. The progress will have to be slow, the progress will have to be calibrated and we will have to be patient. You can’t solve the problems of five decades in five minutes.” —AFP