Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Madam Sonia Gandhi and the members of their
Minister, this is the first official visit to Pakistan by an Indian Prime Minister
since 1960. Your illustrious grandfather, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose
birth centenary India is celebrating this year, was our honoured guest on
that occasion. During that visit, India and Pakistan signed the Indus
Waters Treaty which equitably settled the complex and volatile issue of
sharing of the river waters of the Indus Basin.
That treaty has stood us in good stead over the past 29 years and we
should preserve its sanctity.
bilateral visit to India by a
Pakistani Prime Minister was that of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972
to sign the Simla Agreement. I had the privilege of.
accompanying him on that occasion. Despite the difficult
circumstances prevailing at that
became possible to sign an agreement because both Pakistan and India had
resolved to put an end to conflict and confrontation, to promote friendly
and harmonious relations and to work for the establishment of a durable
peace in the subcontinent. The Simla Agreement has ensured peace between
our two nations over the last 17 years. We should ensure that the Simla
Agreement is implemented in letter and in spirit.
Minister, six months ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming you and Madam
Gandhi on the occasion of the SAARC Summit. That visit provided us with an
opportunity to have in-depth discussions on our bilateral relations. Three
bilateral agreements were also
signed on that occasion. Since that meeting, many exchanges at official
level have taken place and good progress has been made at these meetings.
The Pakistan-India Joint Commission is to meet now to finalize proposals
which would go a long way to increase people to people contacts and
cooperation in the cultural, commercial and other fields. We hope that
these efforts will contribute to a more meaningful relationship between
our two countries based on equality and mutual benefit.
A wind of
change is now blowing across the globe. Cooperation is replacing
confrontation. The Super Powers have agreed to cut down their nuclear
arsenals and in our neighbour hood momentous changes have taken place. The Soviet Union has withdrawn its
troops from Afghanistan. We hope that soon a
broad-based government acceptable to the Afghan people would be
established there. China and the Soviet Union
have taken significant steps towards improvement of relations.
At a time
like this, when nations with traditional hostility are moving towards
peace and friendship, we must ensure that in our region peace and amity do
not become hostage to narrow national considerations. We owe it to our
people to safeguard peace and security so that they can devote their
energies and resources towards development. We should ensure that South Asia remains free of nuclear
weapons. Pakistan is ready to join any arrangement which can guarantee
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in South Asia. We would also like to
prevent an arms race in our region and to encourage arms control talks.
Minister, we can proudly claim that in our own region we have taken some
significant steps for the establishment of peace and the promotion of
co-operation. The South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation is one
such step. In the last four years, our Association has made more progress
than any other comparable regional organization. We have to conserve and
consolidate our gains. One-fifth of humanity lives in the South Asian
sub-continent. They are also amongst the poorest in the world. Our people
want progress, development and better quality of life. Through SAARC, we can provide
it to them. Unfortunately, SAARC is today faced with a crisis. We have to
make individual and joint efforts not to allow any harm to come to this
Minister, distinguished guests!
and India have a shared history. Our people face similar problems and have
the same aspirations. Our people want friendship and not hostility. We, in Pakistan,
have waged a long struggle against the dark night of
dictatorship. We, therefore, have a deep commitment to freedom, to
democracy and to peace. We are committed to abide by the Simla Agreement
and we wish to conduct our bilateral relations in accordance with the
letter and spirit of the Simla Agreement. In December last year, we
initiated a new phase in our relationship-a phase in which we would try
and get our countries out of the mire of mutual mistrust and suspicion; a
phase in which to build our relations based on the principles of equality
and respect for each other's internal affairs. We would like to renew our
commitment to these principles.
all of you to join me in a toast to the health and happiness of His
Excellency Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and Madam Sonia Gandhi, and to the progress
and prosperity of the peoples of Pakistan and India.