THE NATION, 02nd OCTOBER 2013:-
ON BOARD PM’S SPECIAL AIRCRAFT
Declaring that peace and tranquillity on the Line of Control in Kashmir is the “first step” towards normalising ties with Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said it will take time to determine whether this is being implemented on the ground.
“It (the relationship with Pakistan) is at a stage in a sense that we are moving forward towards normalisation of our relations and the first step has to be peace and tranquillity on the Line of Control,” Singh said while talking to reporters on board his special aircraft while returning from the US where he met his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, reported Press Trust of India (PTI).
Singh noted that he and Sharif had agreed that the Directors General of Military Operations of the two sides will meet and work out arrangements for ensuring peace on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It will take time to find out what can be done and what is agreed upon is implemented. But these are all steps towards normalisation of the relationship,” he added.
He was responding when he was asked whether he felt things were still not at the stage where there can be “business as usual” with Pakistan, as he had said after the beheading of an Indian soldier on the LoC.
Singh said he had useful talks with Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
During the meeting, Singh clearly told Sharif that ending violations of the ceasefire on the LoC is a pre-condition for taking the relationship forward. He also raised the issue of continued terrorism emanating from Pakistan during the hour-long meeting.
Singh was asked whether, after meeting Sharif, he felt the Pakistan Prime Minister was the “master of his own destiny” considering the enormous powers of the army there. Singh said he “hopes” and “prays” that Sharif succeeds in implementing the “right things” he has said about India-Pakistan ties.
“I very much hope that Nawaz Sharif succeeds. He is the democratically elected Prime Minister of a neighbouring country and he has said all the right things about Indo-Pakistan relations. So I sincerely hope and pray that he does succeed in carrying out his mission,” he said.
When he was asked about the “dehati aurat” (village woman) comments attributed to Sharif, Singh said the Pakistan Prime Minister has denied making such remarks.
Reminded of a statement he had made soon after the beheading of an Indian solider on the LoC in January that it could not be business as usual with Pakistan, the PM said his meeting with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif indicated a forward movement in normalising bilateral relations.