August 13, 2020
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Lok Sabha

'Jammu And Kashmir Is Not A Territorial Dispute'

The Minister of External Affairs and Defence gets into a detailed defence of Indian policy at the summit and talks about the square brackets that came in the way.

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'Jammu And Kashmir Is Not A Territorial Dispute'
Broadly, the critical observations or otherwise, that have been made in the discussion fall into four broad categories. There were observations about the preparation, home work and such like matters. Also, there were observations about the agenda, about the response of the media and how the Government responded to it and thereafter the assessment of the success or the failure of the Summit.

Let it be very clearly understood that so far as Pakistan is concerned the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not cause of this kind of approach or attitude that Pakistan continues to adopt. It is a consequence and it is the consequence of a consistent and a deliberate policy posture by Pakistan of compulsive and perpetual hostility to India.

It is in that compulsive hostility arising from the seeds of the two nation theory that today or even earlier, all their actions in Jammu and Kashmir are attempted to be justified. Jammu and Kashmir, is not the core issue as the President of Pakistan, General Musharraf Sahib is given to repeatedly pronounce.

Jammu and Kashmir and what it represents is at the core of the Indian nationhood because it represents rejection of two nation theory. The division of this land on grounds of faith is not acceptable. India believes in and shall continue to believe in civic nationalism as against denominational nationalism which Pakistan openly subscribes.

Jammu and Kashmir is not simply a State of the Indian Union but it is an example of the creed of secular India and, therefore, there is simply no question of this Government treating it in any other manner but that is its centrality.

The kind of fundamentalism that Pakistan is structuring around hostility to India in addition, of course, to deluding and mesmerizing its own citizens, is worrisome. This is a deluding miasma that is being created by the leadership of Pakistan deliberately in its own citizens.

This is a path that is full of peril much more so for Pakistan than for anybody else. This path will reduce Pakistan to a kind of social and political anarchy. But it is not in our hands to address. They have to address it themselves. It is these tendencies that we have always taken into account and we have always born in mind. It was during Kargil that we first said that they must vacate their aggression.

We had said that the validity of the Line of Control must be re-affirmed and we had said, quite clearly, that cross border terrorism must be rejected and stopped. That was the first time that we place cross border terrorism squarely and firmly as an issue that must be addressed by Pakistan.

Therefore, when we speak of cross border terrorism, it is here that we affirm and re-emphasise that cross border terrorism is not acceptable to us. Thereafter, the Government took it upon itself to create an international atmosphere about terrorism as not simply a challenge that India is facing but as something that the entire international community ought to wake up to because this menace is threatening.

India has no ill-will for Pakistan. We do not covet even an inch of Pakistan's territory. It is a matter of fact that all of Pakistan's policy is Indo-centric, not so India. India has to deal with entire international community. India has the ability to meet the challenge that has been posed to us through terrorism. For this we need nobody's assistance.

The Government of India did not and has not changed its position in regard to terrorism. So far as terrorism is concerned, no quarter will be given to it, and Pakistan will have to continue to answer for every action of the terrorists that it continues to promote.

No doubt the hon. Members have appreciated that we addressed the question of terrorism. The first step internally was to release the people belonging to the All-Party Hurriyat Conference from confinement and let them go back to Jammu and Kashmir. That was followed by the announcement by the hon. Prime Minister on the eve of the holy month of Ramazan on 23rd November. 

We knew very well that each of these steps will be challenged and the process we endeavoured towards peace will be thwarted and defeated at all steps. For six months, we let it continue. In all these six months, the international efforts continued. From Pakistan's side, efforts were made to defeat these efforts. Consciously and deliberately we came to the conclusion. 

We wished to talk. But in the process of talking, and it is the impression of anybody that India agreed to talk because it was out of any weakness, India agreed to talk, it was out of any fatigue, we agreed to talk, as has been suggested by somebody, because of the call- to my mind, it is completely an unsustainable call – that the Jihadis have now pressurized on India that we are ready to have a talk. 

These notions are very absurd. Notwithstanding this kind of observation, let us give peace one more try because the objective is peace. But we are not going to dictate to Pakistan as to what they do with their internal arrangement. Indeed, we cannot dictate. You would wish that it were democratic. 

It is Pakistan that has to resolve the inner turmoil within its own society, the sectarian violence. It is Pakistan that has to realize that if it continues to promote the kind of fundamentalism that it is promoting, it is unleashing a variety of medieval benevolence that can only harm it. India will contend with it, it will confront it. I know, as a fact that India will redeem.

We do not covet Pakistan's territory. We mean no ill will to their people. We do want them to come to the path of peace. Now, I must address these four broad issues. about preparation, what were prepared and preceded with the invitation, I have just explained. This is not a small preparation.

A great deal has been said that the talks were not accompanied by any agenda. Repeatedly there were four proposals for the agenda. They are already in extant in India-Pakistan bilateral dialogue, the agenda that Shimla has bequenthed as a continuing process to both the countries. There was already, as a part of the continuing agenda, the Lahore Declaration between India and Pakistan.

Thirdly, the composite dialogue process that had set out and listed the issues on which subjects India and Pakistan will deliberate, was a fixed agenda. We had reiterated that agenda to Pakistan. 

And fourthly, despite Pakistan continuously saying we do not want any agenda – the Ministry of External affairs, the concerned Division, proposed an agenda point by point that let this be the agenda on which Pakistan and India when President visits, the talks should take place. These agendas were all there. 

The Pakistan establishment until the last was not clear itself because the establishment had not been taken into full confidence by the President of Pakistan himself. There was no prepared text on Pakistan side. What was required at that dialogue between the two Heads of Govaernments was not an exposition on soldier qualities or soldierly directness. 

It was to address the intricate complex issues that involve not territory, not land because Jammu and Kashmir-let me repeat again-is not a terrirtorial dispute. It involves the complex sentiments of the peoples. There were three or four broad issues : preparation, agenda and also the media. These thesis or this theory that the Jammu and Kashmir is in a kind of a territorial dispute is not acceptable. There was no ambiguity about this. But we are ready to sit with them. We will sit with them.

The nature of the Agra Summit was a retreat. Retreat is a meeting where the visiting Head of State/Government and the receiving Head of State/government meet in retreat quietly, away from Press, so that complex and intricate issues are then enabled to be addressed by them in the privacy, It was suggested that for the sake of making this visit worthwhile, let us meet directly at Goa. With all due courtesies to a visiting Head of State, Delhi was fixed.

We were not blind to what happened on the 14th., what was done with regard to all Party Hurriyat Conference. They have no claim at all, no representational identity with Jammu and Kashmir. It is the APHC which is under pressure from Pakistan. 

On 15th evening, before the Banquet by the Governor of U.P. that Joint Statement was to be issued. The hon. Minister for Information and Broadcasting went to Agra because the External Affairs Ministry requested her to be there. The Prime Minister advised her that she should be there. She did, she told the Press what she was authorized to tell and she had the authority of the Union Cabinet to do so. 

To suggest otherwise at the behest of Pakistan that a member of the Union Cabinet had spoken out of turn is completely out of turn. It is not acceptable to us. 

It was decided that on the 15th we would attempt to produce a Joint Document. The proposal came, "Why not a Declaration?" It was suggested to the officials of the Pakistan team that let two officers sit together and start working on the document. It was after the banquet was over at 11 o'clock at night, Pakistan officials said that they were then ready to sit with us. The officials worked till 4.30 a.m. in the morning jointly. The possible outline was prepared. In that outline Draft there were, a number of square brackets.

The Prime Minister had said that even though it was a one-to-one, I had better go along because there were so many square brackets and that I would be better able to explain those square brackets. In the drafting exercise that went on between my distinguished counterpart His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and I, just as I made penciled corrections, no doubt he also made penciled corrections. 

I recognize that Pakistan's policy is Indo-centric. I went to the Press on 11th of July. During the conference, I did not consider it right on my part to engage in exactly what Pakistan was doing. We do not follow the examples set by Pakistan.

 On the 17th of July, the hon. General Parvez Musharraf left around midnight of 16th, and I did not think it proper that I go to the Press because there was nothing so catastrophic that it happened that I go to the Press at midnight. I chose to go on the morning of the 17th and I did explicitly, clearly, re-enunciate India's position and exactly what had taken place.  

Now, the fault that has been found is that while Pakistan was doing all this, why did we not do likewise. India has to deal not simply with Pakistan but with the entire international community. We are a democracy, we are a free country, we respect and we will take into account what our visiting guest does- if the visiting guest violates the established conventions and norms of conduct of diplomatic behaviour, we, because of our openness and access to Press, will continue to permit him to do so because that, in a very real sense, is also India's strength. 

India is not diminished in the least of it, by what General Pervez Musharraf chooses to do here. We were not perfect in the media management? It is my fault. As the Minister of External Affairs, it is my responsibility. We analyse every event of this nature in the Ministry of External Affairs and see what should have been done differently. 

Through conduct we have demonstrated that the Government of India has not deviated from the path of central purpose, path of national interest no matter what country, which country. In this particular instance there is no question of any foreign pressure.

We said then and we can say now that it is a broad based-relationship that should guide us. Yes, I corrected many pieces of paper. Kashmir has been put on top of the agenda. Even in the composite dialogue process, it is eighth of confidence building measures in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an issue that we have never been shy of addressing with Pakistan. But it is not an issue which, in our view, should or can or will hold India-Pakistan relations as hostage.

About SAARC, I believe on the 9th or the 10th, the Foreign Secretaries are due to meet and it is hoped that SAARC will continue. It is a suggestion here that visits should take place at Islamabad. These visits will take place. 

One hon. Member has asked whether we conferred any kind of legitimacy on His Excellency, the President of Pakistan. We do not confer legitimacy on the system of governance of Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s sovereign decision. 

We are sticking to the unilateral measures which we had announced on 4th, 6th and 9th July. We have not rescinded from them.

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