The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Atal likely to attend Pak meet

Bangalore, Oct. 20 (PTI): George Fernandes today indicated that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would attend the 12th Saarc summit in January in Islamabad.

The defence minister, however, ruled out immediate resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, saying cross-border terrorism had not stopped.

“At the end of the Kathmandu summit, it had been announced by the government that the Prime Minister will participate in the next summit in Islamabad. I think that commitment so far holds good,” Fernandes said here.

The defence minister ruled out a cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir. “There is no question of any kind of cease-fire.... Where we are attacked, we will respond. We can’t lower our guard when someone is attacking us,” he said.

Asked if the pullback of troops signalled lowering of tension between the two countries, Fernandes said: “It indicates that we have chosen to redeploy our forces and Pakistan has reciprocated. In so far as terrorism is concerned, we have been fighting it for more than two decades now and we will keep fighting it wherever it surfaces.”

On whether international pressure was behind New Delhi’s decision to pull back troops, he said: “Anybody who says that is out of his mind.”

He said the border situation had not changed much. “But one good thing that has happened is that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have gone through a poll, a free and fair poll, for which the whole world, for god bless for what reasons, was concerned.”

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