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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 38, June 1999

The Kashmir Crisis

Editor's note: as set out below, on 4 July Pakistan committed itself to concrete steps designed to affect the withdrawal of all insurgent forces operating in Kashmir across the Line of Control established between India and Pakistan under the terms of the 1972 Simla Agreement. The incursion of forces into the Kargil sector of Kashmir in late May (see last issue) triggered intense fighting, with heavy casualties on both sides and growing fears of a possible full-scale war between the two States. India claims that the May incursion was directly aided and abetted by Pakistan's armed forces, a claim denied in Islamabad. Despite Pakistan's 4 July undertaking, fighting was continuing at the time of writing (10 July).

I. Diplomatic Developments

Clinton-Nawaz Joint Statement, 4 July

Joint Statement by President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Washington, 4 July 1999

"President Clinton and Prime Minister Sharif share the view that the current fighting in the Kargil region of Kashmir is dangerous and contains the seeds of a wider conflict. They also agreed that it was vital for the peace of South Asia that the Line of Control in Kashmir be respected by both parties, in accordance with the 1972 Simla Accord.

It was agreed between the President and the Prime Minister that concrete steps will be taken for the restoration of the Line of Control in accordance with the Simla Agreement. The President urged an immediate cessation of the hostilities once these steps are taken.

The Prime Minister and President agreed that the bilateral dialogue begun in Lahore in February provides the best forum for resolving all issues dividing India and Pakistan, including Kashmir. The President said he would take a personal interest in encouraging an expeditious resumption and intensification of those bilateral efforts, once the sanctity of the Line of Control has been fully restored. The President reaffirmed his intent to pay an early visit to South Asia."

Source: Government of Pakistan website, http://www.pak.gov.pk

Indian Reaction

'Official Spokesman's Statement,' Indian Foreign Ministry, 5 July 1999

"We have seen the US-Pakistan Joint Statement issued in Washington yesterday. Our US interlocutors have informed us that 'concrete steps' referred to in the Statement means withdrawal by Pakistan of their forces from our side of the Line of Control in the Kargil sector. We have also noted the sequencing of steps agreed to in the statement, that only after withdrawal is completed will other contemplated steps be initiated. We hope Pakistan will heed this call immediately. We will be watching developments on the ground.

We reaffirm that Pakistan's armed intrusion and aggression has to be vacated. Our military action in the Kargil sector, which has been initiated for this purpose, is making steady progress. It will continue with full force until the aggressors are cleared out, and the status quo ante on the Line of Control fully restored.

One word about the Lahore process. It is direct and bilateral. In this process, there is no place whatsoever for any third party involvement. The same is true for any other aspect of India-Pakistan relations."

Source: Government of India website, http://www.indiagov.org

II. Quotes


Speech by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 7 June:

"You know very well that our relations with Pakistan...were improving rapidly. The Prime Ministers and other Ministers of the two countries were in regular contact; dialogue among officials of the two countries was proceeding constructively, and satisfactorily; areas of cooperation had been identified, and, at various levels, plans were afoot to work together on each of them; most important, people-to-people contacts had opened up as never before in fifty years - there had been an outpouring of goodwill on both sides.

In the midst of this, regulars of the Pakistan army and infiltrators have been sent across [the Line of Control]. They have been sent to occupy our territory. And, having occupied it, to choke off our links with other parts of our country... India is always open to talks. But the talks must have a definite, specific purpose. In the present instance, the subject is one, and one alone: the intrusion, and how to undo it. To discuss this, our doors are always open, and all dates are convenient to us. ...

India wants peace. ... I remain confident that the people of Pakistan, too, yearn for peace and harmony. ... Moreover, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Our responsibilities in this regard are all the greater. Therefore, I once again urge the Government of Pakistan: undo the armed intrusion. ..."

Source: Government of India website, http://www.indiagov.org

Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani, 23 June: "With Pakistan now seeking [a] ceasefire, it is amply evident that they have realised their blunder. ... If their act remains limited only to Kargil, it may pass off as a stupid misadventure... But if the Pakistan Government plans to give rise to more Kargils, then...they will have to pay a stupendous price for it..."

Source: India rattles sabre as Kashmir battles rage, Reuters, 23 June.


Prime Minister Sharif, 24 June: "Time and time again we tried to tell India that we want peace... If there is war, or if the present confrontation continues on the borders, it will bring so much devastation, the damage of which will never be repaired... The nuclear and missile technology has given us great courage... We are a nuclear power now. We should thank God."

Source: US General seeks peace in Kashmir, Associated Press, 24 June.

Information Minister Mushahid Hussein, 30 May: "If we didn't have the bomb, India would have occupied Kashmir by now. That's what the bomb means: deterrence for security, for survival, for self-defence."

Source: Kashmir conflict could become war, Associated Press, 30 May.

Minister Mushahid Hussein, 1 July: "How can [the] Pakistan army withdraw if it is not there? ... They [the rebels] are not infiltrators, they are Kashmiris..."

Source: India fanning war hysteria, says Associated Press of Pakistan, 1 July.

Munawwar Hassan, acting head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, 5 July: "Nawaz Sharif has let down the army, the Mujahideen [holy warriors, the rebel forces], and has dashed the hopes of [the] 140 million people of Pakistan. He will not escape from this..."

Source: Militants decry Kashmir deal, battles go on, Reuters, 5 July.

Statement issued by opposition parties, including the Pakistan People's Party, 30 June: "The Government should shun secret diplomacy and take the people and Parliament into its confidence... If the present Government feels it is unable to ensure the country's defence, integrity, national prestige and the right of self-determination to Kashmiris, then the national interest demands that it should resign and pave [the] way for the establishment of a strong democratic Government."

Source: Opposition urges Pakistan not to bow on Kashmir, Reuters, 30 June.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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