The Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, softened also perhaps by the General's letter wishing him well on his knee-operation welcomed Musharraf's speech on Tuesday advising the Islamic clergy in Pakistan to stop making irresponsible statements against India, saying it had generated much goodwill here.
Speaking to reporters at the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport in Mumbai, where he is to undergo a knee-operation, Mr. Vajpayee said India had always held that stoppage of hostile propaganda was the first step towards friendship.
"In India we take care to see that nobody says or writes anything about neighbours that could create ill feelings and now we are glad Pakistan also has taken such a step.''
However, he would like to read the full text of speech, he said, adding that he had been happy with its tone and tenor.
Not Deviating Denying that India was deviating from its earlier position on talks with Pakistan, he stressed that New Delhi had never said it would not hold talks. All issues including Jammu and Kashmir would be discussed in detail during the visit of Gen. Musharraf and the talks would be within the framework of the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.
Asked how he felt about the talks in view of the Kargil conflict, Mr. Vajpayee said, "we had met on the battlefield earlier and now we will meet in the dwelling of peace.''
He did not comment on the suggestion that the existing Line of Control be recognised as the international border between the two countries, but added ambiguously that "India has already made its stand clear.''
Clarification on Nepal The Prime Minister clarified that he had given "no certificate to anybody" on the happenings in Nepal and expressed confidence that the probe ordered by Kathmandu would reveal the truth about the massacre. "I did not make any hasty statement that there was no conspiracy. I was asked in Bhuj if I saw any conspiracy. I said I did not see any conspiracy from here (in Bhuj). In fact, those who commented on this were doing so in haste,'' he said, taking a jibe at Chandrashekhar.
Enron: He agreed that there were difficulties in finding a solution, but expressed confidence that the issue would be sorted out. "Right steps are being taken to sort out the matter," he said, adding the Maharashtra government and US energy major Enron were in a position to resolve the imbroglio. Centre has already directed the central electricity authority (CEA) to scout for buyers of DPC power, mainly in the power-deficient states, he said.
Maharashtra and Karnatka: He regretted not being able to bring about the meeting of the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka to settle the border dispute between the two States and said he hoped to do something in the matter. His view on the initiation of legal action against those indicted by the Srikrishna Commission was that the law should take its own course.
'Lighter vein' Addressing reporters after his arrival in the city, he said jitna beemar hun utna hi likhiye, na kam na jyada (write in proportion of my illness, not less not more) amid, what PTI put as, 'peals of laughter'
Apologising to the people for the inconvenience caused to them on his arrival here, Vajpayee said in a lighter vein, mein mumbai me phir aya hun, logon ko pareshan karne, (I have come back to Mumbai to trouble all of you)
It is the good wishes of the people that fills me with strength, he added, recalling his previous stay in the city in October last when he underwent a surgery for replacement of left knee joint.
He also attempted a splattering of marathi saying, ata kahi vicharayche asel tar vichara (shoot questions if you have)
Doors of Mumbai open to all? The prime minister sought to play down the controversy generated by his remarks during his last visit to the city on the occasion of Mahaveer Jayanti celebrations when he had said that he would like the doors of Mumbai to be open for all.
His remarks had drawn instant reaction from BJP ally Shiv Sena which has consistently maintained that Mumbai was meant for maharashtrians and influx from outside states was a problem.
There is no need for any misunderstanding. I had then only discussed the gigantic growth of this city. I am hopeful that civic administration and state government will address the problems arising from increasing flow of population into the metropolis.