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Vajpayee no more: Musharraf recalls the Agra summit

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, Aug 16: Former Pakistan president, General Parvez Musharraf expressed his condolence over the demise of former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He termed Vajpayee's famed Agra summit as realistic.

    Vajpayee no more: Musharraf recalls the Agra summit

    While calling him as a revolutionary and a gentleman, Musharraf however added that he was disappointed with the resolution was not signed.

    The Agra summit was a historic two day summit between India and Pakistan held between July 14 and 16 2001. The summit was aimed at resolving the long standing issues between the two countries.

    In 1999, during Vajpayee's visit to Pakistan, both countries had acceded and successfully ratified the Lahore Declaration and pledged to make joint efforts for peace and stability in South Asia. The Kargil war was a major blow to the Lahore treaty and it stalled the treaty as the relations between two countries suffered a serious setback. General Musharraf is widely believed to be a strategic mastermind and brain behind the Kargil war.

    After much diplomatic efforts, the Agra summit started amid high hopes of resolving various disputes between the two countries including the five decades old Kashmir issue. Both sides started the summit with hopefulness and in a spirit of good will, especially President Musharraf who used the phrases "cautious optimism", "flexibility" and "open mind" to describe his views for the summit.

    The peace process however collapsed and no signatures were attained for the Agra Treaty.

    According to the Indian scholar, Gaurav Kampani, there were three major reasons for the Indian government's reluctance in accepting Pakistan's assurances at face value.

    First, the Vajpayee government did not trust President Pervez Musharraf and the establishment that he represents in Delhi. In India alone, it was widely felt that it was Musharraf who sabotaged joint peace efforts of Pakistan Prime minister Navaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Lahore Summit in 1999.

    Second, India was not satisfied with Pakistan's pledge to halt cross-border infiltrations. Thirdly, the Indian government had plans for holding regional elections in Kashmir in October 2002. Similarly, Indian leadership considered Musharraf's refusal to give up support to the cross-border insurgency in Kashmir as the reason behind the failure of the Agra Summit in June 2001.

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