Back from his “successful” visit to the U.S., Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said it was necessary for India and Pakistan to revert to a “meaningful and structured dialogue process” as this was the only way forward.

His advocacy for resumption of structured dialogue comes in the wake of official silence from Pakistan after Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna indicated earlier this month that the next round of Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries could take place in Islamabad.

Briefing his predecessors in the Foreign Ministry and former Ambassadors on foreign policy issues, Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan genuinely wanted to normalise relations with India on the basis of “sovereign equality and mutual respect”.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on the Minister's interaction with the country's seasoned foreign policy experts, participants endorsed the government's insistence on resuming composite dialogue. Of the view that composite dialogue had produced good results, the Foreign Office quoted the former Foreign Secretaries and Ambassadors as stating it was in the interest of both Pakistan and India to resume “result-oriented dialogue” the sooner the better.

The meeting was billed as a routine exercise the Minister carries out after an important overseas tour. The government has attached great importance to the just-concluded fourth round of the strategic dialogue with the U.S. as it was elevated to Foreign Minister level at the initiative of American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

About the strategic dialogue, the Minister said a significant process had begun towards moving the bilateral relationship from a transactional to a strategic partnership. The two countries have now agreed to develop multi-faceted bilateral ties on the basis of mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual trust.

Interacting with mediapersons at Lahore airport on Sunday on his return from Washington, Mr. Qureshi had billed the strategic dialogue as more successful than “our expectations”.

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