Willing to talk Kashmir: GOI
‘Islamabad’s Recent Moves Signal Its Seriousness About Improving Ties’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Washington, Apr 12: India is willing to advance its peace talks with Pakistan and discuss the Kashmir issue, but the main stumbling block is Islamabad’s failure to clamp down on militant groups, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said.
Mathai, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, published Thursday, also said that Pakistan’s recent moves, including an agreement to open its markets to Indian goods, was a signal that it was serious about improving ties with India.
As the talks with Pakistan develop, India would consider reopening a serious discussion on Kashmir, he said.
India, he said, “would be happy” to start talks toward a deal to keep Kashmir’s borders as they are but allow greater trade and movement of people across the Line of Control.
Mathai also spoke about the back-channel talks between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue during the Musharraf regime. “It was a very useful channel of discussions,” he said. “They made progress.”
Mathai said India believes it is now “up to the Pakistanis to decide how to proceed” on peace talks.
The Foreign Secretary said India is looking for “something solid” to announce before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Pakistan.
Singh last weekend accepted the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari to visit Pakistan when the latter visited New Delhi and Ajmer.
Asserting that Pakistan needs to take serious action against militants using its soil to attack India, Mathai said it was deeply troubling to India that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, was able to address public gatherings and appear on television in Pakistan.
“If the (Pakistani) army didn’t want Hafiz on TV issuing threats to one and all, they’d be able to do something,” he said.
He said Pakistan’s failure to clamp down on militant groups that have attacked India is the major roadblock to peace talks.
Mathai said the US decision to put a USD 10 million bounty on Saeed shows that Washington has come around to India’s view about the high level of threat from Pakistan-based militant groups.
India, he added, is looking for “something solid” to announce before Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visits Pakistan.
At the same time, Mathai referred to Pakistan’s recent moves indicating its willingness to improve bilateral ties, including those on trade.
“I wouldn’t have been as optimistic six months ago,” he said, speaking about prospects for the latest round of peace talks, which began a year ago.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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