India ruling party cautiously backs Pakistan peace


India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today endorsed efforts to seek peace with Pakistan but warned that the holy war mentality in Pakistan could stand in the way of dialogue.

"The BJP believes efforts to improve relations with Pakistan should continue," the party resolution said."However, it must be clearly understood that no meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can be conducted as long as the jehadi (holy war) mentality dominates the Pakistani establishment."

"If Pakistan continues to adopt a negative posture, the government of India should draw appropriate conclusions and plan for the future accordingly," the resolution said.

It said New Delhi's friendly overtures for peace with Islamabad should not be interpreted as a sign of India's weakness in the face of an insurgency in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir which has killed over 30,000 people.

Summit talks earlier this month between Mr Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to resolve over five decades of animosity between the nuclear-capable rivals ended in deadlock over the Kashmir dispute and India's concern over what it says is Pakistan-backed separatism in Kashmir.

Islamabad denies New Delhi's charge that it aids separatist rebels in the strife-torn state. But it says it provides moral and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle of the local people fighting Indian rule since late 1989.

The two leaders, however, said they would continue talking even though their first summit in more than two years failed to produce even a joint statement.