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India/Pakistan Relations

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the current state of relations between India and Pakistan; and if he will make a statement. [109177]

We remain seriously concerned at the continuing unstable stand-off between India and Pakistan. The reductions in military deployments by both sides in late 2002 were welcome. But these were not unfortunately followed by further de-escalatory moves or movement towards the resumption of political engagement.We face a significant risk of a renewed crisis between India and Pakistan over the coming months. It is in neither side's interests to provoke or initiate a military conflict that could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. Pakistan should fulfil its commitments to stop infiltration across the Line of Control and discourage any acts of violence by militants in Kashmir. Both sides should consider immediately implementing a cease-fire and take other active steps to reduce tension. The United Kingdom stands ready to help both countries start a process aimed at building confidence, normalising bilateral relations and resolving outstanding differences, including Kashmir. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made these points clearly in his joint statement with US Secretary Powell at Camp David on 27 March.