Indian PM Ready for Talks with Pakistan over Kashmir
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Tuesday New Delhi was willing to hold talks with Pakistan on Kashmir if violence in the militancy-ridden state subsided.
"We are ready to talk to anyone for solving the Kashmir tangle including with our neighbour provided the situation improves," Vajpayee told the upper house of the Indian parliament.
Three weeks ago, Indian security forces suspended counter-insurgency operations against militant groups in Kashmir for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, following a directive from Vajpayee.
The prime minister on Tuesday said he had yet to take a decision on extending the unilateral ceasefire.
Cautious moves are underway to find an acceptable framework for talks between the Kashmir separatists, India and Pakistan on the future of the disputed state.
India and Pakistan, which administer parts of the divided Himalayan province, have fought two wars and a border conflict last year over Kashmir.
India blames Pakistan for arming a Muslim insurgency in its zone of the disputed province which has claimed more than 34,000 lives since 1989. Pakistan rejects the charge but extends moral and diplomatic support to the unrest.
New Delhi has consistently rejected Islamabad's demand for third-party mediation or a UN-backed referendum to determine Kashmir's future, arguing that the state is its integral territory -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
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