Musharraf’s exit won’t affect dialogue process, says India (Lead)

August 18th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Kolkata, Aug 18 (IANS) India Monday underlined that the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as the president of Pakistan will not affect the progress of composite dialogue in the future as its ties with Pakistan were not “individual-specific”.India also made it clear that it had no intention of getting involved “in internal affairs” of Pakistan and underscored the need for “peace in the neighbourhood.”

“India will not interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs. Relationship with Pakistan is not individual-specific,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after attending a party meeting in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, about 200 km from Kolkata.

“I don’t want to interpret on the internal politics of any country. But we desire there should always be peace in our neighbourhood,” he added.

“India will continue to have an amicable relation with Pakistan in the days to come,” he added.

“Of course, a composite Indo-Pak dialogue had progressed during the tenure of President Musharraf and we are hopeful to continue it in future also,” Mukherjee said.

Musharraf, facing a move by the coalition government to impeach him, stepped down from his office Monday.

“We have no comments to make on the resignation of President Musharraf of Pakistan. This is an internal matter of Pakistan,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna told reporters in New Delhi in response to queries about Musharraf’s resignation.

India is keenly watching developments in Pakistan as Musharraf’s exit has the potential to redraw power equations in that country.

Last week, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan voiced these anxieties when he said that Musharraf’s exit would leave “a big vacuum” in Pakistan’s politics.

“Whether he is impeached or not is not important from the Indian point of view. It is for the people of Pakistan to decide,” Narayanan told Singapore-based The Strait Times in an interview.

“But it leaves a big vacuum and we are deeply concerned about this vacuum because it leaves the radical extremist outfits with freedom to do what they like, not merely on Pak-Afghan border but clearly on our side of the border too,” he said.

“Like nature abhors a vacuum, we abhor the political vacuum that exists in Pakistan. It greatly worries us,” he added.

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