Resumption of talks with India a breakthrough: Pakistan

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Terming as “a breakthrough” the agreement between India and Pakistan to resume bilateral dialogue, Pakistan Saturday said the move is “likely to result in bringing peace and stability to the region”.

“We have agreed on the time frame of talks and the secretary-level talks would start in June before the foreign ministers of both countries meet in coming July”, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Salman Bashir told reporters here after his return from Thimphu, where he called on his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao.

The agreement to resume talks was reached during a meeting Sunday between the two foreign secretaries in Thimphu on the sidelines of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting.

The details were disclosed Thursday after both sides had briefed their governments.

“The meeting in the Bhutanese capital was very constructive and I found no acrimony on the other side,” Bashir said, adding “We are going to deal with complex issues confronting both countries with optimism.”

“The leadership in both countries needs to show that it can take ownership of the affairs with patience, determination and political will,” said.

The foreign secretary said: “History is replete with hope and despair likewise but we are hopeful of creating a difference with an eye on the future.”

“The resumption of composite dialogue is vital because South Asian region cannot be isolated from the developments taking place globally,” he said, adding that both the countries “should look at the bigger picture while taking measured steps towards the envisioned goal of peace and prosperity in the region”.

Bashir said that Pakistan “intends to play the role of a game-changer” in the region.

“My interaction with Indian foreign secretary and Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna focussed on just settlement of disputes and what it implies for both countries,” he recollected.

“The prime ministers of both countries have also had the vision of achieving peace through dialogue as the only way forward,” he said.

“Cooperation framework needs to be made meaningful in order to move towards project-oriented approach.”

Noting that Asia has emerged as the driving force for global economic growth and China was leading global economy at the moment, Bashir said: “Both India and Pakistan need to realise this potential and travel this path while dealing with complex issues simultaneously.”

While agreeing to resume talks, New Delhi, however, refrained from mentioning the composite dialogue that covered structured talks on eight issues of interest between the two countries that included terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.

The composite dialogue between the two neighbours stalled after the Nov 26, 2008 terror carnage in Mumbai unleashed by ten Pakistani terrorists that left 166 people dead.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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