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'Gestures Are Not Enough,' says Musharraf - 2002-06-11

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says India's gestures to ease a dangerous military stand off between the countries are not enough. The two countries are under intense international diplomatic pressure.

India has reopened its air space for Pakistani civilian planes after a six month ban and says it is drawing down its considerable naval presence in the Arabian Sea.

But speaking during a visit to Abu Dhabi, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says it is a "very small beginning" towards reduction of tensions. He says India needs to do more. "We look towards continuation of this process and the real response that we are looking for is initiation of a dialogue between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute and all other issues, which bedevil relations between India and Pakistan," he said. "Let us see what happens next."

President Musharraf said he welcomes U.S. diplomatic efforts to ease his country's military stand off with India. He said more such efforts are needed to settle the long-running Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. "If there is facilitation or mediation through a third party, I think the process would further be facilitated. I am an optimist," he said. "There is a chance of prospects of improving of relations between India and Pakistan. The leadership has to show statesmanship, I think more than at any other time required. That is the requirement for proceeding further."

India's government has dismissed any third-party role to resolve the dispute over Kashmir, which has caused two wars between India and Pakistan.

The latest confrontation between the countries over Kashmir stems from India's allegations that Pakistan-based Muslim militants are engaged in "cross-border terrorism" in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

President Musharraf says he has stopped all such movements across the line of control dividing the region between Pakistan and India. Pakistan denies allegations it supports the militants.