The text of the Joint Statement issued at the end of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore
In response to an invitation by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, visited Pakistan from 20-21 February, 1999, on the inaugural run of the Delhi-Lahore bus service.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan received the Indian Prime Minister at the Wagah border on 20th February 1999. A banquet in honor of the Indian Prime Minister and his delegation was hosted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan at Lahore Fort, on the same evening. Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, visited Minar-e- Pakistan, Mausoleum of Allama Iqabal, Gurudawara Dera Sahib and Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. On 21st February, a civic reception was held in honor of the visiting Prime Minister at the Governor’s House.
The two leaders held discussions on the entire range of bilateral relations, regional cooperation within SAARC, and issues of international concern. They decided that:
- The two Foreign Ministers will meet periodically to discuss all issues of mutual concern, including nuclear related issues.
- The two sides shall undertake consultations on WTO related issues with a view to coordinating their respective positions.
- The two sides shall determine areas of cooperation in Information Technology, in particular for tackling the problems of Y2K.
- The two sides will hold consultations with a view to further liberalizing the visa and travel regime.
- The two sides shall appoint a two member committee at ministerial level to examine humanitarian issues relating to Civilian detainees and missing POWs.
They expressed satisfaction on the commencement of a Bus Service between Lahore and New Delhi, the release of fishermen and civilian detainees and the renewal of contacts in the field of sports.
Pursuant to the directive given by the two Prime Ministers, the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 21st February 1999, identifying measures aimed at promoting an environment of peace and security between the two countries.
The two Prime Ministers signed the Lahore Declaration embodying their shared vision of peace and stability between their countries and of progress and prosperity for their peoples.
Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee extended an invitation to Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, to visit India on mutually convenient dates.
Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, thanked Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to him and members of his delegation and for the excellent arrangements made for his visit.
The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan:-
Reaffirming the continued commitment of their respective governments to the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter;
Reiterating the determination of both countries to implementing the Shimla Agreement in letter and spirit;
Guided by the agreement between their Prime Ministers of 23rd September 1998 that an environment of peace and security is in the supreme national interest of both sides and that resolution of all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, is essential for this purpose;
Pursuant to the directive given by their respective Prime Ministers in Lahore, to adopt measures for promoting a stable environment of peace, and security between the two countries;
Have on this day, agreed to the following:-
- The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security concepts, and nuclear doctrines, with a view to developing measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at avoidance of conflict.
- The two sides undertake to provide each other with advance notification in respect of ballistic missile flight tests, and shall conclude a bilateral agreement in this regard.
- The two sides are fully committed to undertaking national measures to reducing the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under their respective control. The two sides further undertake to notify each, other immediately in the event of any accidental, unauthorized or unexplained incident that could create the risk of a fallout with adverse consequences for both sides, or an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries, as well as to adopt measures aimed at diminishing the possibility of such actions, or such incidents being misinterpreted by the other. The two side shall identify/establish the appropriate communication mechanism for this purpose.
- The two sides shall continue to abide by their respective unilateral moratorium on conducting further nuclear test explosions unless either side, in exercise of its national sovereignty decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests.
- The two sides shall conclude an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea in order to ensure safety of navigation by naval vessels, and aircraft belonging to the two sides.
- The two sides shall periodically review the implementation of existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and where necessary, set up appropriate consultative mechanisms to monitor and ensure effective implementation of these CBMs.
- The two sides shall undertake a review of the existing communication links (e.g. between the respective Directors- General, Military Operations) with a view to upgrading and improving these links, and to provide for fail-safe and secure communications.
- The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues within the context of negotiations on these issues in multilateral fora.
Where required, the technical details of the above measures will be worked out by experts of the two sides in meetings to be held on mutually agreed dates, before mid 1999, with a view to reaching bilateral agreements.
Done at Lahore on 21st February 1999 in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, and Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Foreign Secretary of the Republic of India
Foreign Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Prime Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of India:
Sharing a vision of peace and stability between their countries, and of progress and prosperity for their peoples;
Convinced that durable peace and development of harmonious relations and friendly cooperation will serve the vital interests of the people of the two countries, enabling them to devote their energies for a better future;
Recognizing that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries add to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict between the two countries;
Committed to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and the universally accepted principles of peaceful co-existence;
Reiterating the determination of both countries to implementing the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit;
Committed to the objectives of universal nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation;
Convinced of the importance of mutually agreed confidence building measures for improving the security environment;
Recalling their agreement of 23 September 1998, that an environment of peace and security is in the supreme national interest of both sides and that the resolution of all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, is essential for this purpose;
Have agreed that their respective Governments:
- Shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Shall refrain for intervention and interference in each other’s internal affairs.
- Shall intensify their compositor and integrated dialogue process for an early and positive outcome of the agreed bilateral agenda.
- Shall take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and discuss concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict.
As we break bread together; a new century and a new millennium knocks on our doors. Fifty years of our independence have gone by. On one side there is pride and on the other regret. Pride because both the countries have been successful in retaining their independence; but regret because even after 50 years we have not liberated ourselves from the curse of poverty and unemployment.
I am grateful to you, Mr Prime Minister, for hosting this banquet in such a historic location. It was in this magnificent fort that Shahjahan was born; it is here than Akbar lived for over a decade.
My delegation and I are overwhelmed by the warmth of your welcome, and the gracious hospitality extended to us. Mr Prime Minister, you have upheld the nobility of this fort and the tradition of the historic city of Lahore. On this occasion, I am reminded of the lines of the 11th century poet Mas’ud bin S’ad bin Salman.
‘Shud dar gham ‘Lohur rawanam Yarab!
Yarab! Ki dar arzu-e anam Yarab!’
(My soul goes out in longing for Lohur, O God! How I long for it)
Excellency, this is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Pakistan in 10 years. I am delighted to be here. When I inspected the guard of honor and saw the beautiful panorama of the setting sun, I was overwhelmed by mixed feelings. It gave me joy that I was returning here after 21 years with the message of friendship. My regret is that we have spent so much time in mutual bitterness. It is unworthy of two nations the size of India and Pakistan to have wasted so much time in mutual ill-will.
Earlier when I came to Pakistan, I was alone. This time we have representatives from every section of Indian society.
The bus service between Lahore and Delhi is not a means only to ease travel from one country to another. The running of the bus between the two countries symbolizes the desire of the people to improve relations and come together. Indeed, if this was only a bus made of metal, it would not have caused such excitement and expectations, not only in our two nations but all over the world.
It is our duty, Mr Prime Minister, to pursue the desires and wishes of our peoples; to develop, trust, confidence, amity and to create a solid structure for co-operation.
We have been encouraged that our interaction in recent months has focused on issues which directly benefit the lives of our peoples. Our two countries have engaged within the composite dialogue process to work out mechanisms to ensure that humanitarian concerns are addressed quickly; that possibilities of economic and commercial co-operation such as sale of power are identified and pursued; that confidence-building measures are discussed and agreed upon. But this marks only a beginning. We will, together, give directions to our officials to accelerate what we have jointly set in motion.
We have also discussed those areas of relationship on which we do not see eye to eye. That is only inevitable. As we seek to resolve issues, we have to be conscious that there is nothing which cannot be solved through goodwill and direct dialogue. That is the only path.
I am convinced that there is nothing in our bilateral relations that can ever be resolved through violence. The solution of complex outstanding issues can only be sought in an atmosphere free from prejudice and by adopting the path of balance, moderation and realism. To those that preach, practice or foment violence, I have only one message: understand the simple truth of the path of peace and amity. That is why, as part of the composite dialogue process, we welcome sustained discussions on all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. As we approach a new millennium, the future beckons us. It calls upon us, indeed demands of us, to think of the welfare of our children and their children, and of the generations that are yet to come.
I have brought but one message from India. There can be no greater legacy that we can leave behind than to do away with mistrust, to abjure and eliminate conflict, to erect an edifice of durable peace amity, harmony and co-operation. I am confident that through our combined efforts we will succeed in doing so, no matter how hard we have to work in achieving it.
Permit me to extend to you, Mr Prime Minister and to Begum Sahiba a most cordial invitation to visit India. Let me assure you that you will find in India a very warm welcome. We look forward to receiving both of you soon in India.
I express my best wishes for your progress and prosperity, for the establishment of durable peace and co-operation between India and Pakistan.
Let me first of all welcome you to the historic city of Lahore. I hope your stay has been pleasant.
It has been a pleasure for us to host the Prime Minister of India and his delegation.
Prime Minister Vajpayee and I have met for the third time. It is our first meeting on the Pakistan soil.
I am happy to note that we were able to move beyond the symbolism attached to the inauguration of the Lahore-Delhi Bus Service.
Our talks have been substantive, constructive and candid.
We were able to undertake a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations. I have underscored to Prime Minister Vajpayee the immense potential of building a mutually beneficial co-operative relationship, once we achieve a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir issue.
We have discussed issues relating to peace and security in our region, especially the nuclear related questions.
I reiterated Pakistan’s principled position on nuclear and conventional issues as well as our earnest desire to avoid an arms race in region.
Pakistan is interested in promoting confidence building measures in the nuclear and conventional field with the view to reducing the danger of conflict and leading to nuclear restraint and stabilization.
Neither Pakistan nor India has gained anything from the conflicts and tensions of the past 50 years. The peoples of the region risk losing out in the march or development if we remain caught in a vicious cycle of mistrust and suspicion.
If we look around us, confrontation is giving way to cooperation. Complex disputes are being resolved. Nations are increasingly becoming engaged in mutually beneficial interaction.
There is no reason why these positive global trends should by-pass South Asia.
I would like a Pakistan-India relationship that is free of tensions and based on mutual trust and confidence. Should we achieve this, there is no limit to cooperation between our two countries.
I am convinced that the objectives of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia can be achieved provided there is the will and commitment.
Let us dedicate our energies to further promote and strengthen regional cooperation under SARRC for the peoples of South Asia, through peace, security and development.
We must bring peace to South Asia. We must bring prosperity to our peoples.
We owe this to ourselves and to our future generations.