Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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'Verbal Calisthenics Will Not Do'

'I don't intend to reply to displays of irrational anger and frustration' says the official spokesperson. Relevant excerpts.

Do you have any response to what Musharraf has said in his latest interviews with Newsweek and BBC?
We have seen both the interview to Newsweek as also transcript of the interview given by President General Musharraf to the BBC.

Pakistan has committed itself to fighting terrorism. This is an unambiguous and clear commitment lending itself to no other interpretations. It has been conveyed to us in categorical terms that commitments about permanently ending infiltration of terrorists across the LOC have repeatedly been given by General Musharraf. Despite some occasional verbal calisthenics by Pakistan, this is the commitment that remains, undiluted.

I have nothing more to add.

Do you think that India-Pakistan relations is back to square one?
No, we want Pakistan to abide, adhere and take action on the basis of these pledges and commitments, verbal calisthenics will not do. There is no point in getting tongue-tied about this. Certain commitments and pledges were made and we expect action on those commitments to end terrorism, to end infiltration and to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism.

Who has conveyed these pledges and commitments to us?
These have been conveyed to us at the highest level during the visits of Deputy Secretary Armitage and Defence Secretary Rumsfeld. Secretary of State Colin Powell has referred to it in his public statements.

We want Pakistan to abide by those commitments. My statement makes it very clear.

Do you think General Musharraf is going back from his commitments?
There is no question of going back on those commitments. These are commitments on which Pakistan must deliver if we are to see lasting peace and stability in our region, if we are to see reduction of tensions, if we are see further measures to reduce tensions.

But General is very very clear in pointing out that measures taken by India is self-serving. He mentioned the removal of overflight restriction and also the positioning of Indian Naval force in high sea doesn't bother Pakistan but was bothering Indians themselves and so India decided to withdraw. Any comments?
I don't intend to reply to displays of irrational anger and frustration. I don't believe that these are well considered deliberate responses of the sort that we expect to the very concrete, very forward reaching measures that we have taken to reduce tensions and obviously it is Pakistan that refuses to see the writing on the wall, it refuses to recognize the need to permanently end terrorism and it is therefore necessary for all of us who are fighting terrorism, who are engaged in this struggle against forces of terror to remind Pakistan of its commitment and to seek concrete action on the basis of the pledges made by Pakistan.

You have said earlier there was a perceptible decline in infiltration. Yet Prime Minister said that infiltration has not been reduced.
I think you should see the sense of what underlies that statement. I think we are yet to see any definite trends towards permanent end to infiltration and I have said that all along. There has been some decline. We are yet to see on the ground a permanent trend that suggests that infiltration is tapering off, is coming to a definite end. We have said consistently that we have to see the situation for a longer time to see whether these trends are established.

But the Defence Minister went on record to say that the infiltration has almost stopped?
No, but there again, it is true that he said that. But is this the definite trend that we can see established from now on for an indefinite period of time? We are unable to say that at the moment. July has traditionally been a month of high ingress, of high infiltration. Obviously we have to monitor the situation further in terms of what Pakistan needs to do to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, to literally pull the plumbing out as we have said.

Musharraf has said that he did not make any such commitments to end infiltration permanently?
That is what we call verbal calisthenics. Certain pledges have been made. Certain definite commitments have been made and we have seen the statements to that effect coming from the foreign interlocutors who have interacted with President General Musharraf in recent weeks and months. It has been definitely established that these statements have been made.

Do you think India needs to re-look at its policy towards Pakistan?
Let us see how the situation develops and obviously if Pakistan is unable to fulfill its pledges and is reneging on its commitments, we will have to take a closer look at what needs to be done and where we go from here.

The Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson has said that they are considering to reciprocate India's removal of restriction of over flight facilities?
Well, I don't believe that we have received any official communications on this. We are awaiting an official response from Pakistan. Our decision was conveyed to them exactly two weeks ago and our offer stands.

General Musharraf has said that the situation along the border is explosive and dangerous. Do you agree with that?
If there is any reason to describe that situation as explosive and dangerous, it is explosive and dangerous because of the threat of infiltration and terrorism that India faces from across the line of control and along the international border.

Do you think that Verbal calisthenics as you call it is for domestic consumption in Pakistan?
That is for you to interpret. I am just pointing to the fact that pledges are pledges. I don't believe that nations can go back on their pledges.

Let me also inform you that Foreign Secretary Straw called the EAM this afternoon. They had a conversation that lasted about 10 minutes which was focused on the current situation in the region.

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