NATIONAL

'New Delhi's response not adequate'

ISLAMABAD July 3. The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, has once again stressed the "imperative need for meaningful de-escalatory steps by India and the resumption of a sincere and result-oriented dialogue on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute".

Gen. Musharraf took the opportunity of his interaction with the visiting British Defence Secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, to ventilate his grievance that New Delhi's response to Pakistan's initiatives was not "adequate".

The complaint is significant for two reasons. Obviously, the Pakistan President expects Mr. Hoon, on a visit to the region, to convey the sentiments of his regime on the prevailing tensions between India and Pakistan to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, when he meets him tomorrow in New Delhi.

Second and perhaps more important in the perception of Islamabad unless New Delhi is willing to take more "meaningful de-escalatory'' steps and proceed towards the process of resumption of dialogue, there is little scope and hope for reduction of tension in the region.

In another six days, it would be a month after India announced the decision to restore over-flying facilities to Pakistani aircraft through its air space but Islamabad has chosen not to respond to the gesture. In the last few days, several functionaries of the military establishment — from Gen. Musharraf downwards — have made it known that they consider the June 9 initiatives of New Delhi as "cosmetic and self-serving''.

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