Polit Bureau statement of February 22, 1999 on the Prime Minister’s Visit to Lahore

The visit of Prime Minister Vajpayee to Lahore and the discussions held with the Pakistani Prime Minister should help in creating a favourable atmosphere for carrying on the dialogue with Pakistan. The CPI(M) has been consistently advocating improvement of Indo-Pakistan relations by facilitating more trade, cultural and people to people contacts while the substantive issues under dispute including Kashmir are resolved through negotiations.

The nuclear tests at Pokhran and the Pakistani tests in response further complicated the situation and created new tensions. The talks held at Lahore have not taken up the substantive issue of how to avoid the nuclear arms race in the subcontinent which would be possible only if both countries decide not to go ahead with induction and deployment of nuclear weapons.

It is essential that both on the question of avoiding a nuclear weapons build up and other outstanding issues, both countries continue to hold bilateral talks and not be subject to foreign pressures. The Vajpayee government which had adopted a jingoistic position after the Pokhran tests should, if they are serious about improvement of relations with neighbours, take the initiative to also repair its relations with China.

In order to ensure an amicable atmosphere for further dialogue, the BJP and the RSS organisations should desist from vitiating the atmosphere by indulging in anti-minority and communal anti-Pakistani propaganda.