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Atal and I were snubbed at Agra: Musharraf

Writing about Agra summit in his book In The Line of Fire, Musharraf discloses that twice he had decided to cut short his stay in Agra.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 17:52 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is of the view that both he and the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been "humiliated" at the Agra summit in 2001 "by someone above" the two of them.

Writing about the failed summit in his book In The Line of Fire released on Monday, Musharraf discloses that twice he had decided to cut short his stay in Agra after the Indians had "backed out" of what had been agreed earlier.

However, he had been persuaded by his diplomats not to do so.

According to the General's account of the events in Agra, after two prolonged interactions with Vajpayee, a "balanced" joint declaration acceptable to both of them was drafted.

It contained a condemnation of terrorism and recognition that Kashmir needed to be resolved.

"The signing ceremony was scheduled for the afternoon (of July 17) in the hotel JP Palace where Prime Miniter Vajpayee was staying and where we held our dialogue.

Preparations in the hotel were complete, down to the table and two chairs where we would sit for the signing ceremony," he writes.

Barely an hour later he had been informed by his foreign minister Abdul Sattar that "the Indians have backed out" as their Cabinet had rejected the draft.

There was no Indian Cabinet in Agra and "I became very angry, and my impulse was to leave for Islamabad immediately".

After being cooled down by his diplomats, Musharraf says he allowed them to try for a redraft and cancelled his visit to Ajmer that evening.

"The redrafting took another two to three hours of intense haggling over words and sentences. But ultimately my team returned, signalling success.

They showed me the new draft which I approved," he writes adding that he had told his wife that the Agra declaration would hit the headlines the next day.

"Yet this too was not to be. Just as I was about to leave for the signing ceremony I received a message that the Indians had backed out again. This was preposterous.

I decided to leave immediately, but my foreign minister now persuaded me to call on Prime Minister Vajpayee before leaving. I consented to fulfill this diplomatic protocol, though much against my wishes," Musharraf says.

Recalling his meeting with Vajpayee at 11 pm, the General says, "I told him bluntly that there seem to be someone above the two of us who had the power to overrule us.

I also said that today both of use had been humilitated. He sat there, speechless. I left abruptly after thanking him in a brisk manner."

"Vajpayee (had) failed to grasp the moment and lost his moment in history," he concludes.

First Published: Sep 25, 2006 17:52 IST