Joint Press Interaction of Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Rasmussen, Copenhagen

October 10, 2002

 
Danish Prime Minister Mr. Rasmussen:


Welcome to this Press Conference, first of all, I would like to welcome the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Denmark.  Yesterday, we had the EU-India (Business) Summit. Today, the Indian Prime Minister placed an official visit to Denmark.  We have just had very fruitful meetings, good and substantial discussions; discussions, which underscored bilateral relations between Denmark and India, are strong and growing well.  Development cooperation used to dominate our relations but now cooperation is expanding in a number of areas; trade between our two countries has more than doubled over the last decade.  We welcome this but are convinced that there is an untapped potential for increasing trade and investment.  Today we discussed the ways of expanding the commercial relations between Denmark and India not least in the areas of natural sciences and IT; we also discussed the situation in Kashmir.  I welcomed the conclusions of the elections, many participated; I hope that these elections will be the starting point for a forward looking and inclusive dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  As mentioned yesterday, we are concerned about the tensions between India and Pakistan and wish to see a process of de-escalation the tension must be lowered dialogue is the only way forward toward a closer understanding I would like to stress that we certainly recognise that India is a victim of terrorism and therefore we have again condemned terrorist acts most recently in connections with the elections in Jammu and Kashmir.  We have made every effort to persuade the leaders of Pakistan to put an end to cross border infiltrations and we will continue to do so and I think it is important to stress to create a positive climate for a fruitful dialogue.  Thank you and Mr. Prime Minister please.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

     I am happy to be here in Copenhagen. I participated in the India-EU Summit yesterday and have had bilateral meetings with my Danish hosts today. We attach a great deal of importance to such regular exchanges, which provide us an opportunity not only to further strengthen our political dialogue and economic cooperation, but also to address other issues of mutual interest.


Relations between India and Denmark are friendly and warm. I have had constructive discussions today with Prime Minister Rasmussen on bilateral, regional and international issues. I also had an interesting interaction with the Speaker and some Deputies of the Danish Folketing. I look forward to meeting Her Majesty the Queen later today.

In my bilateral exchanges, we have discussed ways to enhance trade and investment. We have identified several potential areas for cooperation, including information technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and food processing and non-conventional energy sources.

India and Denmark share the view that terrorism anywhere and in any form must be rooted out completely. Both countries are committed to countering this grave threat to open, democratic and multi-cultural societies such as ours.

I invited Prime Minister Rasmussen to visit India to continue our dialogue and I inform you that he has so kindly accepted our invitation.

      Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister and we are ready to take a couple of questions:

Question: (Mr. Chandan Mitra from the Pioneer) (for Mr. Rasmussen) you just said that you welcome the successful conclusion of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir and now you look forward for forward looking-dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, now what other alternatives methods of dialogue can be there once an election has already been completed.

Mr. Rasmussen: I am not sure I quite understand your question what alternatives

Question: If I am quoting you correctly you said that after the conclusion of the elections now that the elections are completed you are hopeful of a forward looking dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, am I right?

Mr. Rasmussen: Yes.

Question: so how do you engage the people in a dialogue once an election process is completed which is the best way for people to express their opinion so what kind of dialogue is it that you are talking about with the people of Jammu and Kahsmir.

Mr. Rasmussen: See I don’t know if it is so easy to answer that question.  A dialogue is a dialogue.  And I think democratic free and fair elections are a very important phase for the establishment of a positive dialogue and a stable society and this is a reason why I pointed to this that we really welcome the conclusion of the elections.

Question: But with whom will this dialogue be held?

Mr. Rasmussen: With whom? Yeah but I think that…a positive dialogue should include all stakeholders who fee committed to the respects of democracy and human rights and the values we share.  Ye please?

Question: My question is to Prime Minister Vajpayee, since yesterday during your visit here Kashmir and Pakistan have been at the forefront of the agenda.  Do you feel any kind of pressure to begin a dialogue with Pakistan?

Prime Minister Vajpayee: We have been told repeatedly that pressure is been put on –Pakistan – to stop cross border terrorism that will clear the way for having a dialogue.  We have requested our Danish Prime Minister to add some more pressure to bring down the people of Pakistan particularly the leader. 

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