No redrawing of Kashmir borders: Singh
* Prime minister says CBMs on their own will not resolve Kashmir issue
* Calls on Pakistan to ensure an end to cross-border terrorism
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh addressed both houses of parliament on Tuesday, saying that he had made it clear to President Pervez Musharraf at their September meeting in New York that New Delhi would not agree to redrawing Kashmir’s boundaries.
He said that both leaders had agreed to consider possible options for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue.
“I made it clear to President Musharraf that while we are willing to look at various options, we would not agree to any redrawing of boundaries, or another partition of the country”, he said.
In response to a question by former external affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, the prime minister said that he had stressed to President Musharraf that dialogue could only be productive if Islamabad upheld its January commitment to former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to curb terrorist activities in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
Dr Singh pointed out that confidence building measures (CBMs) were not a means to an end, adding that the peace process could not move forward if the security situation on the ground remained the same. He said that he had discussed India’s concerns over cross-border terrorism with US officials visiting New Delhi.
The prime minister said that he had told his counterpart Shaukat Aziz, visiting India on November 23, that New Delhi intended to pursue the path of cooperation and dialogue with Pakistan provided an atmosphere of mutual trust and an absence of terror prevailed. He said he wanted to build on the support that the peoples of both countries had shown without compromising his country’s national interests.
On India’s bid for permanent Security Council membership, Dr Singh dismissed reports in the Indian media last week that he would accept membership without veto power. He said that there was “no ambiguity, no confusion” about India’s candidature at this point in time, stressing that there “should be no discrimination between old permanent members and new ones”.
On India’s nuclear policy, the prime minister reiterated that the country was a responsible nuclear state. As a civilised nation, he said, India did not support the discriminatory use of nuclear power.
On the supply of nuclear fuel from Russia, Dr Singh said that he had received assurances from Moscow that Russia would honour all contractual agreements on the supply of nuclear fuel. Discussions for two additional nuclear reactors were still being discussed with the Kremlin, he said.
On the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, he went on to say that no final agreement had been reached on the means of receiving gas from Iran, adding that Tehran and Islamabad were still discussing the issue. The only certainty, he said, was that India needed increased energy supplies.