External Affairs Minister's Press Conference
June 12, 1999
Good evening, ladies and gentleman of the Press
Today I met H.E. the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Janab Sartaj Aziz. Essentially I made only two points. Firstly, vacation of aggression in Kargil and secondly inhuman treatment of Indian soldiers in Pakistani custody. I emphasised that armed intrusion accounting to aggression that has been committed by Pakistan. Indeed spokesman admitted that the Pakistani army has crossed the LoC and is occupying positions on the Indian side. This point was not denied by Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz. I also told him that tension has been created because of violation of status quo. De-escalation requires the restoration of status quo ante. Line of Control which is intrinsic with Simla Agreement and which is clearly delineated has not been questioned for 27 years. Questioning it now is a disingenious attempt to find ex-post-facto justification for aggressive action. This is unacceptable. Sanctity of the LoC must be restored and respected. I also specifically demanded that those responsible for perpetrating barbaric action of torture and of killing of Indian soldiers when in captivity must be brought to justice. Being the initiator, India is committed to the process of dialogue. Purpose of dialogue is vacation of aggression. We do not have the luxury to engage in talks above talks.
Questions & Answers
Q. 1. Inaudible.
Ans. In the talks I have specified what my expectations from the talks are and it is for Pakistan to respond.
Q. 2. Inaudible.
Ans. I would classify failures and success only by what results are demonstrated by Pakistan.
Ans. I regret that Janab Sartaj Aziz has not said this to me. I also regret that something that spokesman from Islamabad etc. are saying, Shri Aziz did not consider it fit to say to me.
Ans. I can tell you everything. There is no reason why I can not tell you but if you tell me what specific proposals you are referring to. I am assuming here that is the same what Sartaj Aziz is referring to and if he is referring to de-escalation or defusing the situation. When the Foreign Minister of Pakistan suggested that partial escalation of current situation in the Kargil sector could be brought about if India ended air strikes which are on its own side of the LoC and its artillery across the LoC could be stopped. We are for total de-escalation and defusion. Not partial and not as a device and certainly not as a disguise for achieving other ends. My reaction was clear and specific. Remove the factor that has caused the escalation and that would be the most effective and immediate de-escalation. That would also defuse the situation rapidly. That is why I have to add that calling on India to dilute its measures to end the intrusion really amounts to seeking to perpetuate the presence of the armed intruders and to sanctify aggression.
Q. 5. Inaudible.
Ans. I did not receive direct indications in that regard.
Q. 6. Inaudible.
Ans. We have made our position very clear. The onus is on Pakistan to establish its bonafide.
Ans. I have explained what I mean by de-escalation and how it can be achieved. I advised Minister Sartaj Aziz to convey to his government the views of my government and I also informed him that we now await response to our demand for vacation of armed intrusion and aggression.
Ans. Siachin is not towards the LoC, it is beyond LoC, beyond NJ9842. I have told this to Janab Sartaj Aziz in clear words and he did not deny it.
Q. 9. Inaudible.
Ans. There is no confusion about the LoC. It is a treaty document under Simla Agreement of 1972 and maps have been exchanged for the entire LoC and on the maps it is clearly delineated and signed.
Q. 10. Inaudible .. (regarding continuation of dialogue between the two Froeign Ministers).
Ans. There is no dialogue as such. Please be clear of this misunderstanding. The visit took place at the request of the Pakistan Government and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Classifying it as a dialogue would be misnomer.
Q. 11. Inaudible.
Ans. Even when we agreed to receive H.E. the Foreign Minister it has been made explicitly clear that there are no conditions and it will not affect the ongoing air and ground operations.
Q. 12. Inaudible.
Ans. My recollection of the discussions that I had with H.E. do not include any discussion relating to strengthening, enhancing or even the mention of the word UNMOGIP.
Q. 13. Inaudible.
Ans. I will repeat, I await Pakistan's response on our demand for the vacation of the armed intrusion and aggression.
Q. 14. Inaudible.
Ans. It means only what it says and not what you interpret.
Q.15. Inaudible .. (On EAM's comments of indications about the response from Pakistan's Foreign Minister. Were there any indirect indications) ?
Ans. I do use right words directly and deliberately.
Q. 16. Inaudible.
Ans. No (warpath). No (talks from 0 to 0). It is a great pity that on Lahore declaration, even before the ink on it was dry, Pakistan chose to violate its spirit and in letter.
Q. 17. Inaudible.
Ans. No that is your assumption.
Q. 18. Inaudible .. (Sartaz Aziz said that Kashmir and Kargil issues are the same) ?
Ans. I do not agree to that.
Q. 19. Inaudible.
Ans. I made it quite clear that there was an existence of a composite dialogue process, which process was abandoned by Pakistan through its misadventure in Kargil. It is upto Pakistan to resume.
Q. 20. Inaudible.
Ans. That is for Paksitan to determine.
Q. 21. Inaudible.
Ans. No, no, no. I am not saying that I will never talk to them. I am simply saying that the parameters of talks in the issue is defined. The onus is now upon Pakistan to revert to what we have raised.
Q. 22. Inaudible . (direct or indirect indication from Pakistan Foreign Minister) ?
Ans. I have not given you any such thing. The word direct is direct.
Q. 23. Inaudible (There is no agreement between their stance and our stance).
Ans. As soon as Pakistan accepts that this making about freedom fighters in Kargil which is an untenable euphemism for Pakistan regular troops, we can move forward.
Q. 24. Inaudible (visit to Islamabad).
Ans. I have responded already. It is not a question of my going to Islamabad. The question really is of Pakistan responding to what we have stated is the situation on ground and what we feel is the minimum necessary.
Q. 25. Inaudible (on treatment to Indian soldiers).
Ans. He did not deny it, when it was raised in the talks twice.
Q. 26. Inaudible.
Ans. Well, we have made our position quite clear.
Q. 27. Inaudible (India raised the tension by air operations etc).
Ans. I reject that thesis.
Q. 28. Inaudible.
Ans. He did not mean so. He suggested that the LoC is something that is open and is yet to be fully established. It is a proposition that we do not accept because the LoC is a document borne of a treaty, the Simla Agreement of 1972.
Q. 29. Inaudible (On return of bodies by Pakistan, to suspend talks).
Ans. That is a speculative question. The talks have taken place.
Q. 30. Inaudible.
Ans. I have answered that. The simplest way to descalate the situation is to eliminate the cause of escalation and immediately the situation would both de-escalate and be defused.
Q. 31. Inaudible.
Ans. I suggested that what is here must first be de-escalated.
Q. 32. Inaudible.
Q. 33. Inaudible.
Ans. It is a specious proposition.
Q. 34. Inaudible (about India's next step).
Ans. Let that situation come. We do not discuss military plan here.
Q. 35. Inaudible.
Ans. We had made our position very clear. The aggression has to be undone by military or diplomatic means whichever means applies first.
Q. 36. Inaudible.
Ans. I am not going by possibility of talks. I am answering your query as to whether diplomatic means have failed for ever. No.
Q. 37. Inaudible (regarding India moving to International Court of Justice for the treatment meted out to Indian soldiers).
Ans. Not to the Court of Justice. As far as the Geneva Convention is concered, the Ministry of External Affairs is already siezed of the matter and will be taking appropriate action.
Q. 38. Inaudible (Sartaj Aziz said chances of further escalation have reduced).
Ans. I am heartened by the comments by my colleague H.E. Sartaj Aziz.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much