Have to engage Pakistan: PM
‘NOT AT THE COST OF NATIONAL INTEREST’
On Board PM's aircraft, Oct 30: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Saturday said India is "obliged to engage" Pakistan but cannot do so by surrendering its national interest.
"I cannot say how soon," Singh told reporters on his way back home after a 7-day tour that took him to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Dr Singh said when asked to spell out when dialogue between India and Pakistan could begin. "It is our policy to engage with Pakistan. That does not mean we should surrender or give up our essential national interest," Dr Singh said.
Recalling his oft-repeated statement that one can choose friends but not neighbours, Singh said "therefore, we are obliged to engage Pakistan," he said.
On China Dr Singh said he and his Chinese counterpart had resolved to find "pragmatic and mutually satisfactory" solution to the border problem and remove misunderstandings" to strengthen ties.
Singh said he had discussed with Wen the totality of issues in a general way and he agreed with the Chinese Premier that there was enough space in the world for both the countries to grow and that they should cooperate and collaborate.
"We reaffirmed the two countries resolve to find a practical, pragmatic and mutually satisfactory solution to the border problem,"
The Prime Minister was asked about the sense of his meeting with Wen, which came in the backdrop of irritants resulting from China impliedly questioning the status of Jammu and Kashmir as also by laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.
Recognizing the complexity of the border issue, the two sides had agreed that pending a solution to it "peace and tranquillity should be maintained along the border."
Singh and Wen had yesterday instructed their Special Representatives on the issue to "work our way to solutions to all the issues that are difficult in our relationship, including boundary question".
The Special Representatives -- India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and top Chinese official Dai Bingguo -- will meet in Beijing next month.
"Whatever Premier Wen said, I agree. India-China relations should be strengthened. Whatever misunderstandings are there should be removed," the Prime Minister said.
In this context, Dr Singh said he had invited Wen to visit India and he had accepted to do so in the near future.
Wen is expected to visit India sometime in the middle of December.
During the meeting yesterday in Hanoi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, Singh took up with Wen "difficult questions" impacting on Sino-Indian ties and pressed for "sensitivity" to India's "core issues".
The two leaders, while going through the entire range of relationship taking the "larger strategic view," also discussed the economic aspect of the ties in the backdrop of concerns in India over the big trade imbalance in favour of China.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 30 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 30 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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‘NOT AT THE COST OF NATIONAL INTEREST’
On Board PM's aircraft, Oct 30: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Saturday said India is "obliged to engage" Pakistan but cannot do so by surrendering its national interest. "I cannot say how soon More