Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that there can be no redrawing of borders in Kashmir, triggering a sharp response from Pakistan on Monday which said the “dispute” must be settled in line with the UN resolutions.
“I have publicly stated that there can be no redrawing of borders (in Jammu and Kashmir),” the Prime Minister said.
”But two countries can work together to ensure that these are borders of peace, that people-to-people contacts grow in a manner in which people do not even worry whether they are located on this side of the border or that side,” he told CNN in an interview aired on Sunday.
Dr. Singh was asked whether he saw any prospects for productive negotiations with Pakistan since he was set to be quiet close to some kind of a deal with President Pervez Musharraf before the military ruler quit.
“If trade is free, if people-to-people contacts (are there) and both countries competing with each other to enable people on both sides to lead the life of dignity and self respect. Those are issues, which we can discuss, we can reach agreement,” he said.
In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory awaiting settlement in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.