Dust needs to settle: Rao on India-Pakistan talks

August 7th, 2010 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said that the “dust needs to settle” after the collapse of the India-Pakistan talks in Islamabad last month.
In an interview to Outlook magazine, the foreign secretary was asked a question on the future of the talks. “I believe the dust needs to settle,” she said.

Rao said that India’s “genuine, carefully formulated and reasonable approach to these talks” should not be “under-estimated and under-valued by Pakistan”.

After the meeting between External Affairs minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart S.M. Qureshi July 15, their joint press conference went downhill with Qureshi equating a statement by Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai to the provocative anti-India speech of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafez Saeed.

“At some stage into the press conference, after four questions had been raised — two from the Indian side and two from the Pakistani side — as previously agreed, Foreign Minister Qureshi decided to allow more questions. Perhaps the outcome would have been less tendentious if this turn of events had not taken place,” Rao argued in the interview.

She said that “path to lasting peace with Pakistan will not be easy”, adding: “We have never nurtured any illusions about this”.

“A serious, sustained and comprehensive dialogue remains the best option. But such a dialogue can thrive only in a climate free of terrorism directed against us from Pakistan. Otherwise, the trust deficit and public alienation towards Pakistan will only deepen,” said Rao.

On the reiteration by Pakistan that it is also a victim of terrorism, the top Indian diplomat noted that it did not “diminish its responsibility to address India’s legitimate concerns about Pakistan-originated terrorism against our citizens and our territory”.

“A selective approach in such matters is not acceptable,” she asserted.

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