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Navtej Sarna
Counsellor (Press & Information)
Washington, DC
(202) 939-7041

[email protected]

Following is a press release issued in New Delhi
regarding Pakistan Prime Minister's call for dialogue

July 13, 1999
New Delhi

In response to a question regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's call for dialogue, the official spokesman recalled that India was the initiator of the composite dialogue process, aimed at transforming India - Pakistan bilateral relations through building trust and confidence, putting in place a comprehensive structure of cooperation and addressing all outstanding issues. The official spokesman also said that the Prime Minister's historic initiative to visit Lahore was a manifestation of India's deep desire to take India - Pakistan relations in a positive and constructive direction. That is how Pakistan's armed intrusion and aggression in the Kargil sector was a betrayal of trust. It also revealed abiding hostility. It would therefore be idle to pretend that this experience has not set back India - Pakistan relations. This damage has been compounded by Pakistan's continuing fiction that its regular troops were not involved in Kargil. This is an entirely untenable assertion, which flies in the face of facts.

Our future dealing with Pakistan will be governed by the sequence of steps already spelt out. The first essential step is a total clearing up of remnants of armed intrusion and aggression. We expect that this shall be cleared by first light 16th July. Till this is not completed to our satisfaction, no other steps will be taken. After complete withdrawal, Pakistan would then need to reaffirm the inviolability and sanctity of the Line of Control. In this regard we hold that the sponsorship of cross-border terrorism is a violation of the Line of Control. The gruesome incident this morning in Bandipur in Jammu & Kashmir is yet another reminder of Pakistan's brazen and continuing sponsorship of terrorism. Pakistan will have to abandon this path of encouraging and abetting terrorism and dismantle the entire network set up in Pakistan territory for the purpose.

Our commitment to the Lahore process and the composite dialogue remains. India would like to renew the dialogue process and expects that Pakistan will take the needed steps for that to become possible.