Index

The opening remarks made by Shri Jaswant Singh,
External Affairs Minister at a Press Briefing

June 11, 1999
New Delhi

Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz will be visiting Delhi tomorrow. His visit is taking place in the context of Pakistan's armed intrusion and aggression in the Kargil sector of Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir.

I wish to share with you, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, and through you, with all the citizens of our country, as also the international community some, and I repeat that this is only some of the incontrovertible evidence that we have obtained about many aspects of this armed intrusion and aggression in the Kargil sector. This establishes beyond any doubt the involvement and complicity of the Pakistani establishment in this misadventure. It raises serious doubts about the professed aim of 'defusing tension' as averred by Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz. The evidence will also establish that the management of this enterprise is in the hands of those who put it in place in the first instance. It raises doubts about the brief that Minister Aziz carries and at whose dictates he is actually working.

The making public of this evidence at this juncture, is to expose the Pakistani game plan to the entire world; to preempt any designs that Pakistan may be nurturing about obscuring the central issue of their involvement, complicity and continued support to an armed intrusion and aggression in which Pakistani regular troops are participating; to defeat in advance the Pakistani aim of dangerously attempting to reopen the sensitive and settled issue of the Line of Control; and above all to re-emphasise and reassert the Indian position. There is only one aspect of this Pakistani misadventure that can be discussed; earliest restoration of the status quo ante and reaffirmation of the inviolability of the Line of Control. This is the very minimum imperative for the maintenance of peace and security in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I will now ask that two recorded conversations between the Chief of the Army Staff of Pak Army and his Chief of the General Staff be played. The first conversation took place on May 26th, the second on May 29th. The transcripts of these conversations will be distributed simultaneously.

Treatment of Lt. Kalia and 5 Soldiers

The entire nation has been outraged by the savage treatment of our soldiers who were taken in custody, by Pakistan, in the ongoing action in the Kargil sector. The Government shares the outrage of the nation totally. A postmortem was conducted on the six bodies which were handed over by Pakistan three days ago. The postmortem confirms that the soldiers were tortured and then shot at close quarters. We will demand of Pakistan that the perpetrators of this heinous crime be identified, caught and brought to justice. We had made the same demand in the case of Sqn. Ldr. Ahuja. Such conduct is not simply a breach of established norms, or a violation of international agreements it is a civilisational crime against all humanity; it is a reversion to barbaric medevialism.