MARGARET WARNER: Joining me is Ambassador Lalit Mansingh. Welcome, Mr. Ambassador.
LALIT MANSINGH: Thank you, Margaret.
MARGARET WARNER: You just heard your Pakistani counterpart say that President Musharraf has taken steps to stop these incursions across the border. Does the Indian government see evidence of that?
LALIT MANSINGH: We've been hearing it for a long time. President Musharraf declared in a speech on the 12th of January, that he made two commitments: one, to not let Pakistan be used as a base of terrorism anywhere, and secondly that terrorism would not be used in Kashmir. Neither of these commitments have been fulfilled. So we haven't seen any changes on the ground.
MARGARET WARNER: Secretary of State Powell though gave -- had an interview that was broadcast today saying the U.S. has seen some signs in recent days of a reduction at least in the activity along that line. You're saying the Indian government sees nothing?
LALIT MANSINGH: We haven't seen signs of reduced violence or reduced infiltration. We are keeping a constant monitor of the moment across the line of control. Unfortunately in the last three months, the number of incidents have gone up, they haven't gone down.
MARGARET WARNER: To settle this, your prime minister has suggested a joint patrols.
LALIT MANSINGH: That's right.
MARGARET WARNER: Pakistan doesn't like that idea. They want international patrols. What's wrong with the idea of international patrols?
LALIT MANSINGH: Two things. One is we have an agreement, called a Shimla Agreement, signed in 1972, when we decided that all our outstanding issues would be settled bilaterally. So I think there is a commitment on the part of Pakistan to do it with us, not internationally. And secondly it's a very complicated border. It's about 500 miles of rugged mountainous terrain. And it's only the troops of India and Pakistan, which can jointly and effectively check any kind of infiltration.
MARGARET WARNER: So are you saying then government flatly rejects the idea, for instance, of stepped up U.N. patrols or some kind of international monitoring by satellite or anything else?
LALIT MANSINGH: I don't think they'd be effective. If the Indian army and the Pakistani army who are there on the border are not able to check it, how do you expect an international group of monitors to check this?
MARGARET WARNER: So how close do you think your country and Pakistan are to war right now?
LALIT MANSINGH: We don't want war. I want to make it clear, we don't want to attack Pakistan. We don't want Pakistani territory; we don't want to harm Pakistanis. But we want an end to terrorism. And that is the issue today. The issue is not about religion, not about territory. The only issue that we are facing today is terrorism.
MARGARET WARNER: Is Ambassador Lodhi correct, though, when she says that India is threatening war, is threatening to attack in a conventional way?
LALIT MANSINGH: No, we're not. In fact, if you look at our record, the United States went in for military action within a month of being attacked by terrorists. We have been repeatedly attacked. Our parliament was attacked on the 13th of December last year, six months later we haven't gone to war, because our policy is we would let diplomacy to have a chance. If it doesn't work, then only we will think of other options.
MARGARET WARNER: So when your prime minister said two weeks ago, he was speaking to troops at a camp up near that area, he said it's now time for a decisive battle, how should Pakistan read that, how should the world read that statement?
LALIT MANSINGH: But you have to see it in the context in which he said it. On the 14th of May there was another attack by the terrorists. Now, earlier the terrorists were attacking security forces. This time they entered an army camp, killed about 35 people, most of them women and children, a two-month-old baby was killed. So there is the rising anger inside the country saying how long are we going to suffer this? Is there any way of dealing with this?
MARGARET WARNER: Does India believe that if it were to attack Pakistan or Pakistani areas in Kashmir or terrorist training camps in that area, how great a risk does India believe there is that the resulting conflict could slide into nuclear war?
LALIT MANSINGH: Firstly, we are not interested in war. And if diplomacy succeeds, nobody will be happier than India. On the nuclear issue, I know that concerns have been expressed. We have concerns because we know what nuclear war means. But we have a doctrine; we have a doctrine which says we will never attack a country which doesn't have nuclear weapons. And we will never be the first to use --.
MARGARET WARNER: You wouldn't, go ahead, I'm sorry.
LALIT MANSINGH: And we will not use nuclear weapons for the first time against a country which has nuclear weapons. So this is an assurance for Pakistan that we will never use nuclear weapons.
MARGARET WARNER: First.
LALIT MANSINGH: First. So we have a system of controlling this, and we have a system of civilian control over the nuclear trigger. It is not in the hand of generals, it's in the hands of elected representatives of the people. I can't say that for Pakistan.
MARGARET WARNER: When you said that India is still trying diplomacy, and I can't remember your exact words, but something to effect of if that doesn't work, well then -- my question is: How much longer does Pakistan have to satisfy India that it is doing all it can to stop these incursions?
LALIT MANSINGH: Well, I'll refer to the statement, which Secretary Powell had made the other day, which is that he expects that Pakistan will put an end, a permanent end to cross-border terrorism. He made it clear that temporary measures will not do. You can't switch off the tap and switch it on again -- and secondly that it must be visible to India. So if there is an end to terrorism, it must be visible to India. Then only we can talk about other measures, de-escalation, have dialogue; all that will follow. But first this terrorism must come to an end.
MARGARET WARNER: And why no dialogue before then, no dialogue at all?
LALIT MANSINGH: Be sensible. We've had dialogues before. And in fact it was India, which initiated the dialogue. Remember that in 1999, it was our prime minister who went in a bus to Lahore and talked about peace, and it was followed by an attack on India in Cargil. The army chief at that time was General Musharraf.
We had a dialogue last year in July; our prime minister invited President Musharraf to come there. It didn't go anywhere, because President Musharraf didn't acknowledge that there was any terrorism. Now how do you have a dialogue with a party which believes in terrorism? So we are saying make your choice: You want dialogue, you'll have dialogue. But you can't have dialogue with terrorism. You have to give it up.
MARGARET WARNER: The Bush administration is becoming increasingly involved in this in recent weeks, including the phone calls today to the two leaders.
LALIT MANSINGH: That's right.
MARGARET WARNER: What effect has the U.S. engagement had, do you believe, on this conflict, which so far is not full-blown war? But I mean, has the pressure had, do you think, a restraining effect?
LALIT MANSINGH: Well, we have great faith in what the U.S. is doing, and I think the visit of these two high-level emissaries, Mr. Armitage and Mr. Rumsfeld, will be a very good effort at trying to find peace. Our disappointment is that all these messages, which have been sent to Pakistan, have not had the desired effect. President Musharraf made his commitment in January. And five months later we are still waiting for those commitments to be carried out.
So we hope that Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Armitage will send, will reinforce President Bush's message, and make Pakistan realize that it can't carry out terrorism anymore. There is the Bush doctrine, which says you can't sponsor terrorism. There is a Security Council Resolution, which says that member states cannot sponsor terrorism.
MARGARET WARNER: Last-- final question. At some point if terrorism were to stop, would India be willing to allow self-determination for the people in Kashmir?
LALIT MANSINGH: That is a different issue altogether. Now if you're referring to the U.N. resolution, which dates back to 1948, I would like to remind you that there were two conditions attached to the referendum: One, that there would be a cease-fire, and second since Pakistan had committed aggression, Pakistan would vacate the territory occupied by it.
Pakistan hasn't done it and so much has changed in the last 50 years, including demographic changes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The U.N. Secretary-General visited Pakistan last year, and said that resolution is not enforceable. And that remains the position.
MARGARET WARNER: All right, Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for coming in.
LALIT MANSINGH: Thank you.