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Pak terror export a cause for worry: PM

Problems between India, Pakistan extremely complicated: Singh

Press Trust Of India  |  New York 

Ahead of his meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister has observed that they share a "unique" background even as he said the existence of terrorist infrastructure in that country was a "cause for worry".
"I do wish to convey to President Musharraf that we have a unique opportunity. He (Musha-rraf) was born in what is now called India, in Delhi. I was born in what is now called Pakistan. So I think this is a unique background," Singh, who would meet Musharraf tomorrow, said.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question on what he wanted Musharraf to know about him and his feelings about Kashmir and what he was prepared to do. On dangers of an Indo-Pak nuclear conflict, Singh said his honest assessment was both were responsible countries and "the outside world probably exaggerates the chances of our two countries going to war".
Contending that and Pakistan were "extremely complicated", Singh said it would be wrong on his part to say "we can resolve all these issues overnight".
"But we have lived through times where what was simply unacceptable in international relations became the norm. Who could imagine some 20 years ago that the Berlin wall would melt, that the cold war would be a thing of the past? But these things have happened," he said.
Singh said the infrastructure of terrorists in Pakistan "by and large still remains intact. And that's a cause for worry."
Asked how India and Pakistan were building confidence, Singh said the two sides had been discussing confidence building measures with matters relating to use of nuclear weapons so that there was no accident and no mis-understanding about each other's intentions. "I hope pro-gress will be made."
Citing the revolution in South Africa, he said "I think, given goodwill, given determination, how severe or difficult, the present may seem, I do believe sincerely that the way can be found to resolve all outstanding problems".
When reminded that both India and Pakistan had nuclear weapons, he said: "I can assure you we are a responsible We recognise that both our two countries, having nuclear weapons, have greater responsibility and we have been discussing confidence-building measures".
Noting that the two sides have made "substantial pro-gress", he said "I do hope that in the near future we will have credible arrangements by way of confidence-building measures, so that no accident takes place, so that if there are tests with regard to missile pre-testing information, it will be given to each other to avoid any mishap and mis-understanding".
Singh said there were other confidence-building measures on the conventional armaments, which the two sides had been discussing as also on enhancing people-to-people contacts.
So, there was awareness in both countries that so far as the common people were concerned, both had so much in common, he said, adding there was so much in common between the two parts of Punjab. In the same way, many people had migrated to Pakistan from India in 1947 and all these people want to rebuild new contacts with their former relatives and others.
"So, I think there is lot of basis to work together to deal with these people-to-people contacts," Singh said.
On reports that was not supporting the Kashmiri militants as much as they were in the past and whether New Delhi had any evidence of that, the Prime Minister noted that in January this year, Musharraf and then Prime Minister had come to an agreement to restart the composite dialogue between the two countries covering all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.
But the starting point of this was the "unambiguous" commitment of Musharraf that the territory under Pakistan's control would not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities in any other states, he said.
Singh said since then, there had been some improvement. "The flow of infiltration across the border has diminished from November to may. But in June and July, there was again an increase. In August, there is again, I think, some improvement. But the infrastructure of terrorists by and large still remains intact. And that's a cause for worry."
Asked what's the solution that would be politically feasible for India and Pakistan, he said: "Well, I think the first step is to recognise that terrorism as a weapon to resolve political issues is simply unacceptable in a civilised world.
"Once the machinery of terror is dismantled, we as a nation are committed to discussing with Pakistan all outstanding issues, including that of J&K."
On what Pakistan wanted from India, Singh said: "Well, I think thus far, Pakistan was saying that the core issue is the issue of J&K. We have been saying that J&K is a symptom of a wider malaise. That is a complicated manner. It has persisted for the last 55 years. The two countries had three wars on J&K".
He emphasised that "before we can get to resolve them, we must create an atmosphere of trust and confidence."
And once the atmosphere of trust and confidence has been created, we would create a climate congenial to the resolution of more difficult issues, even that applies to the issue of J&K".
As a step in the direction of building trust and confidence, the two countries could expand trade flows. "We, as a nation, give most favoured nation treatment to Pakistan. Pakistan does not give us (this). We would like, I think, this discriminatory practice should come to an end".
Favouring expansion of people-to-people contacts, he hoped links between the two countries would grow in a manner in which they would create a proper atmosphere to tackle more difficult problems.


First Published: Fri, September 24 2004. 00:00 IST