The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani Kashmir gesture to Pak

New Delhi, May 16: With three weeks to go for .K. Advani’s visit to the US, the deputy Prime Minister said Delhi wants Pakistan to change its stand on terrorism, not necessarily its views on Kashmir.

Delhi’s disappointment with Lahore and Agra notwithstanding, Advani is optimistic the Prime Minister’s latest peace overture to Pakistan stands a better chance of succeeding.

The world is no longer willing to accept any excuse for terrorist violence that targets innocent civilians, including women and children, he said.

According to Advani, both countries may continue to have differences on Kashmir, but Delhi expects Islamabad to give up cross-border violence and dismantle its “terror structure” so that a conducive atmosphere is created for talks on all outstanding issues.

Referring to Pakistani leaders’ recent statements that there was no change in their stand on Kashmir, Advani said Delhi acknowledges the basic difference in views between the two countries on Kashmir.

“Today, I want to emphasise that we are not asking Pakistan to abandon its views on Kashmir, but (to) change its views on terrorism,” Advani told reporters on a flight to Mumbai. “We are willing to discuss all issues, including Kashmir, with Pakistan.”

Advani’s views are almost identical to those of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s, expressed in Srinagar last month, showing that the two senior-most leaders of the ruling BJP are in sync on moves to improve bilateral ties.

Advani, scheduled to visit the US on June 8, said the current peace process with Pakistan, cooperation on anti-terrorism and other bilateral issues would be the focus of his discussions with senior members of the Bush administration .

“Last time when I was in the US, it was in the backdrop of the December 13 attack on Parliament. The forthcoming visit is going to be a follow-up visit during which I will take up incidents of terrorism which happened in the country in the last one year,” he said.

Though Vice-President Dick Cheney has invited the deputy Prime Minister to visit the US, indications are he will meet all the key members of the American establishment in Washington and also discuss other important international developments.

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