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'Simla Agreement ... Has Been The Bedrock Of India-Pakistan Relations Since July

The prepared statement read out by the Foreign Secretary on May 31 in response to questions from the media on the reactions in Pakistan to the EOM's 'recent articulations'.

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'Simla Agreement ... Has Been The Bedrock Of India-Pakistan Relations Since July

We are somewhat surprised at the reactions in Pakistan to some of EAM's recent articulations of consistent policies of the Government of India, the policies that have been followed over decades and despite several changes in Government.

The Simla Agreement has been the bedrock of India-Pakistan relations since July 1972. It provides the framework for our relations, and commitment both to dialogue for resolving differences and not to take any unilateral actions.

EAM has, on all occasions, clearly said that we will abide by the framework of the Simla Agreement, all subsequent agreements and declarations and the January 6 Joint Press Statement, when the Prime Minister of India had visited Islamabad, and after his meeting with the President of Pakistan. This fact seems to have been deliberately ignored. Suggestions or inferences that there are differences in intent between these documents, and that some of them would not be given due significance, are obviously erroneous.

Similarly, it has been our consistent policy that difficult issues between India and Pakistan can be addressed productively only when there is an atmosphere of cooperation, goodwill and understanding. These can be generated through enhanced interaction and exchanges. Obviously, we intend to pursue with this approach.

We have clearly laid out a framework for the Composite Dialogue in the coming months. That process would provide us the opportunity to discuss all these issues and any unnecessary apprehensions in detail. Till then it would perhaps be better to avoid any uncalled for controversy in or through the media.

We would like to reiterate that our approach is one of friendship and cooperation. We hope that the seriousness and sincerity with which we are committed to engagement in the bilateral dialogue process with Pakistan will be respected by the Government of Pakistan, and an atmosphere free from the menace of terrorism and violence created to take forward and sustain the process.

New Delhi
May 31, 2004

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