Rao to Pak: Rhetoric will not help activate dialogue process

February 8th, 2011 - 7:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Thimphu (BhutanO, Feb.8 (ANI): Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said Pakistan’s repeated rhetoric on key bilateral issues such as the resolution of the decades-old Kashmir dispute, will not help in facilitating a quick resturn to the already suspended composite dialogue process.

Asked to respond to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi’s recent interview given to the Gulf News in Islamabad, wherein he said India should take a fresh look on Kashmir, Rao told ANI TV in an exclusive interview: “I haven’t seen the interview that Mr Qureshi gave. This issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been discussed between the two sides. The dialoguemechanisms exist to discuss this issue, and when we talk of revival of the various dialogue processes, finding the right combinations to unlock the various stalled mechanisms, obviously, these issues will also be focused on.”

“But we must create a right atmosphere to begin with. Rhetoric will not help. An exercise of mutual attrition will not help,and this is a message equally for both sides. And, I hope our Pakistani counterparts and interlocutors will understand that as well, just as on our side also. We must ensure that the process that has begun is given momentum, that it picks up pace so that we can achieve results,” she added.

When asked whether India has fallen short of of achieving a satisfactory conclusion to the 26/11 investigation,and whether the Samjautha bom explosion came up for discussion at the talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir, Rao said: “We did discuss this, and obviously these are concerns we have real concerns, very legitimate concerns about the Mumbai trials. And, our response to Pakistan as a law-abiding country, as a country that has very strong institutions, where justice is delivered properly and within the frame of the national laws, is, they need not have any concern on that score.”

“The investigation is ongoing, and as an when we are ready to share evidence with Pakistan, we will do that. Obviously, a little over 40 Pakistanis lost their lives in the Samjautha blasts. We see that, we are not denying their right to be concerned about it. Similarly, we expect responsiveness from Pakistan as far as the Mumbai trials are concerned. So, this an ongoing interaction between the two sides, and, this is a matter uppermost on our minds –the Mumbai attacks. We have still not been able to achieve a satisfactory conclusion to all the investigations and trials that are going o. So, this is what we will focus on in the coming meeting that we have with the Pakistani authorities,” Rao added.

Asked about tangible outcomes of the just concluded foreign secretary0level talks held here on the sidelines of two South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meetings, Rao said: “This was the beginning. Wee have begun, or at least, we have resumed a certain process. We met on a few occasions last year and the situation is in a sense stalled. Our effort, our enterprise was to restart the process, inject life into it this time, and that we have been able to achieve”.

Asked what was next on New Delhi’s agenda, and Rao said: “We have made a number of suggestions to Pakistan.When we met lastyear, we suggested various dialogue meetings. So, that is known to all. Obviously, there are many issues in the relationship, and, they concern many departments of the governments of both countries. So,if you are talking about all outstanding issues, obviously, it will involve all the stakeholders.”

She also said that Foreign Minister Qureshihas been invited to visit India.

“He has accepted the invitation, and, during my discussion with my Pakistani counterpart, we discussed the visit of Mr. Qureshi also. The Pakistani side said he is looking forward to his visit. So, obviously, this is very much on the cards and, we will be fixing dates through diplomatic channels,” she said.

Commenting on the plight of some Indian students at the Tri-Valley University in the United States, the Indian foreign secretary said she would be taking up the issue with the US State Department during her visit in the coming week, and added that there were a number of issues on the table for both sides to discuss.(ANI)

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