India keeps watch, says change in Pakistan won’t affect ties (Lead)

June 20th, 2012 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) As Pakistan prepares for a new prime minister, India Wednesday said it was closely monitoring the situation but stressed that the change in leadership will not affect it’s revived dialogue process with the neighbouring country.

“We are very closely monitoring events in Pakistan. We will like the political impasse to be settled,” Krishna told reporters when asked about whether the change in leadership in Pakistan will affect the dialogue process between the two countries.

“Whatever happens in Pakistan, it should not affect bilateral ties,” he added.

Krishna’s remarks came ahead of a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Islamabad Wednesday evening to select the new prime minister of the country. Pakistan’s lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, will formally elect the new prime minister at a special session to be convened Friday.

Textiles Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar are strong contenders for the post.

The Supreme Court Tuesday had ruled that Yousaf Raza Gilani stood disqualified as prime minister as well as member of parliament since the apex court’s April 26 verdict holding him in contempt of court for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

India is keeping a close eye on the political upheaval in Pakistan as the change in leadership is happening at a time when the two countries are on the verge of completing the second round of the dialogue process, which they revived in February last year after a hiatus of more than two years following the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani June 7 had said in Beijing that he would be coming to India to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai June 29. But there are indications that the foreign secretary-level talks are now likely to be held July 4-5.

The foreign secretary-level talks will set the stage for External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s trip to Islamabad, likely mid-July, to review the dialogue process and map the path forward.

New Delhi will be closely watching the profile of the new prime minister as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is known to have forged good equations with Gilani that helped revive the dialogue process after the 26/11 freeze.

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