India invites Pakistan to resume talks
Qureshi Expected In New Delhi In Next 2 Months
New Delhi, Jan 7: India has invited Pakistan to resume talks after last year's slow-progressing dialogue between the two countries.
"I have extended an invitation to my counterpart (in Pakistan) to visit India and earnestly hope that we can take the process of dialogue forward," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.
Krishna said, "The indication given to me by Qureshi was that sometime in the first quarter of 2011, he would be visiting Delhi and we are looking forward to it."
He said before Qureshi's visit "two foreign secretaries will meet and clear the ground for a very productive meeting at the level of foreign ministers."
Krishna rejected a contention that his previous meeting with Qureshi in Islamabad failed due to lack of proper ground work done by the officials in the two countries.
He recalled that at the time of his meeting with Qureshi in July last year, there were interactions between the foreign secretaries of two countries.
Asked about the agenda for the meeting, the minister said the country would like to engage Pakistan to sort out outstanding issues.
"We would like to engage Pakistan in a dialogue and there is no alternative other than talking to Pakistan and keeping them engaged thereby sorting out outstanding issues," he said.
Asked about the reported confession by RSS leader Aseemanand on his role in the Samjhauta Express train blast and if India will convey it to Pakistan, he said, "All such issues are taken up with respective governments and his ministry will certainly do so".
Giving a round-up of the foreign ministry for 2010, he said international terrorism has been a core foreign policy concern for India for some time now.
"We have been victims of vicious kind of cross-border terror for well over two decades," he said.
Apparently referring to Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI, he said terrorism is being backed by official agencies and is being used continuously against the country as a political and economical weapon.
Under U.S. pressure, leaders from the two nuclear-capable neighbors held several meetings last year in a bid to re-start their fully-fledged peace process stalled by the deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008.
But there has been no dramatic headway in resolving outstanding issues.
"We expect Pakistan to fulfill its repeated assurances given to us at the highest level to not allow the territory under its control for fomenting terrorism aimed against us, and to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice expeditiously," Krishna said.
The two countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. The Himalayan territory of Kashmir, claimed by both in its entirety, has been the cause of two of those conflicts.
In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to a peace process called the "composite dialogue" that covered eight issues, including Kashmir, terrorism and Pakistan's concerns over river dams on the Indian side, which it sees as a threat to its water supplies.
Successive governments on both sides of the border carried forward the talks, which they acknowledged as a means to ending their historical acrimony.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari hailed results from the negotiations in September 2008 as the countries completed four rounds of diplomatic meetings.
But talks were suspended two months later, in November 2008 after the Mumbai attacks.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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