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I Was Behind Vajpayee's Lahore Bus Trip, Agra Summit :Jaswant

PTI 14 Jan 2010, 21:47:53 PM IST

Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh has claimed that he was behind former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's historic bus trip to Lahore in 1999 and mooted the Agra Summit in 2001.  

The former BJP leader, who created a storm by writing a book on Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah plans to visit Islamabad towards the end of March or early April to establish peace between both the countries. 

"Prime Ministers don't ordinarily travel by bus. I suggested to Prime Minister Vajpayee - and it was in New York that this suggestion was made - that why not travel to Lahore by bus'," Singh told journalists after a launch of the international edition of his book "Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence" in the House of Commons yesterday.

Vajpayee then addressed the citizens of Pakistan on TV where he said: "Ye bus Lohe aur Ispat ki nahi hai, Jazbat ki hai. Bahut ho gaya, ab hamein khoon bahana bandh karna chahiye" (This bus is not just of iron and steel but about our emotions. 

Enough is enough, now we must end this bloodshed.)  Asserting that he would devote his time for bringing about peace between India and Pakistan, Singh said it was he who subsequently thought of the 2001 Agra Summit. 

Singh said he persisted with peacemaking even though India was "betrayed" by Pakistan's subsequent attack on Kargil and terrorist strikes on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and Indian Parliament. "We persisted. We invited (then Pakistan President) Pervez Musharraf to Agra. PTI