‘Solid foundation’ laid for India, Pakistan engagement: Krishna

Monday, February 7, 2011

THIMPHU - Talks between India and Pakistan have laid “solid foundation” for “sustained engagement”, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Monday, a day after foreign secretaries of the two countries met in this Bhutan capital.

“The very fact that the two foreign secretaries met is certainly an indication that solid foundation has been laid for getting the two countries on a sustained engagement,” Krishna told reporters after arriving here to take part in the 33rd meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Council of Ministers.

A day earlier, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, met for 90 minutes. A statement issued after the talks said both sides had affirmed their commitment to take the dialogue process forward.

“The genesis of all this was the prime ministers… when they met in Thimphu, they mandated the foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries,” Krishna said, referring to the meeting between India’s Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Saarc summit in April 2010.

He added that meetings between foreign secretaries and foreign ministers would help towards “building bridges of trust, mutual confidence, respect and all the other things”.

The last meeting of the two foreign ministers in Islamabad in July last year ended in an acrimonious press conference. India had invited Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for talks again in India, and sources now state he may be coming here in March or April.

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