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Response to Pak PM’s Statement and China visit

November 24, 2003

Spokesperson: Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. We have an early briefing today. I have a statement today, but before that let me brief you on the ongoing visit of Mr. Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Yesterday Mr. Jia Qinglin had met the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Shri Manohar Joshi at the Parliament House and had expressed China's opposition to terrorism in all forms. He had offered condolences to the members of the bereaved families of the martyrs who died in protecting the Parliament House on December 13, 2001. Continuing his visit today he had called on Prime Minister. During this meeting, which lasted for half an hour, the two leaders had discussed the bilateral relations, particularly the positive developments, which had taken, place during Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to China earlier this summer. They discussed the recent first meeting of the Special Representatives, prospects for the next meeting and also the trade increases, rather dramatic trade increases, which had been made in the last few months. At this rate it looks like the target, which has been set of, US $10b is within hand. The trade is now about US $ 5.3b and is expected to reach US $7b at the end of this year. In a very short while the Foreign Minister will be calling on him. This evening there will also be a meeting with the Vice President who will be hosting a dinner in honour of the visiting dignitary.

We have seen the statement on India-Pakistan relations, made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan in his address yesterday.

We welcome the decision of the Government of Pakistan to work for expanding the communication links proposed by us on October 22. We now propose immediate technical level talks for early implementation of these proposals.

We also welcome the announcement by the Prime Minister of Pakistan of a unilateral ceasefire with effect from the holy occasion of Eid. We will respond positively to this initiative. However, in order to establish a full ceasefire on a durable basis, there must be an end to infiltration from across the Line of Control.

To take this process further, we also propose a ceasefire along the AGPL (Actual Ground Position Line) in Siachen.

Question: The statement says we will respond positively to this initiative….
Answer: It says we will respond positively and in order to establish a full ceasefire on a durable basis there must be an end to infiltration from the across the LoC.

Question: The ceasefire is with effect from Eid. Will we also ceasefire from the same day?
Answer: I am not sure as to when what comes into effect. But we will respond positively.

Thank you.

Additionally the spokesperson made the following points on EAM's meeting with Mr.Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

  • Bilateral political relations and positive developments since PM's visit were discussed.
  • Economic cooperation was discussed at length. Despite the dramatic increases in bilateral trade, it was felt that further efforts needed to be made to enhance economic cooperation and the Joint Study Group would examine ways & means of doing this.
  • EAM raised the issue of advisories related to Dengue fever in India that had been issued by China. Mr.Qinglin confirmed that as of today all restrictions imposed on account of Dengue fever are being lifted.

The text (given below) of the Resolution condoling the death of Shri Murasoli Maran, former Minister for Commerce and Member of Parliament passed by the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs on November 24, 2003 was also circulated.

The Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs, in its meeting of November 24, 2003 condoled the passing away of Shri Murasoli Maran, former Member of Parliament and Minister of Commerce and Industry.

All members of the Committee paid tributes to Shri Maran and recalled their interactions with him as well as his pleasant personality. The Committee noted the stellar role played by Shri Maran in WTO negotiations where he had taken a courageous stand and held out, single-handedly, protecting the interests of India and those of developing countries. The Committee described Shri Maran as a nationalist to the core and expressed the view that in his death, the country has lost a great patriot. The Committee observed that India owed gratitude to Shri Maran for his services to the nation.

The meeting was adjourned as a mark of respect to the departed.

New Delhi
24 November 2003

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