New Delhi's position was made clear during talks between Indian leaders and Powell, who earlier in the day voiced the demand for 'outsiders' to travel to Kashmir and 'monitor' the election because it will give credibility to the results even if it is not an official globally-sponsored monitoring regime.
As Powell held the view that infiltration across the Line of Control was continuing and Pakistan should not disturb the poll process, an external affairs ministry spokesperson dismissed President Pervez Musharraf's statement in Islamabad on Sunday that infiltration had ceased and India was making baseless allegations.
Powell, who met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told a press conference in New Delhi that India believed it was capable of conducting the election without a formal monitoring system, but at the same time recognised the value of having outsiders, "international personages present in the region".
Powell said "enough outsiders" could monitor the campaign and the election process and give their own individual impressions, which would add a level of credibility to the poll that would benefit the Indian government and the perception of the election in the international community.
The Indian spokesperson said Powell did not pitch for independent international or formal observers and it was clear that he "fully understood" New Delhi's views on the subject.
"We have said very clearly that we don't object to diplomatic or media representatives or visitors in their individual capacities wishing to go to the state, but not to investigate or certify the elections," she said.
"There was no ambiguity on this score. We pointed out that whosoever obtains visas for India is free to travel to any part of the country, including J&K although non-governmental organisations and other groups which may seek formal status as observers will not be permitted," she said.
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