Three days after the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi, Pakistan on Sunday said it was ready to participate in the composite dialogue process with India, provided there were no preconditions.

“The ball is in India’s court. We are ready for a proper process of composite dialogue,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said, adding that Pakistan could participate if India did not set any conditions.

Mr. Basit made the remarks in response to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that composite dialogue was the solution to the dispute between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan too can set a number of preconditions, but “it believes in the settlement of bilateral issues with India through a positive negotiation process,” Mr. Basit told a TV news channel.

“We welcome the Indian desire for resumption of the dialogue.” Mr. Basit said Pakistan has always been making efforts in this regard.

The Pakistani delegation that visited India last week for Foreign Secretary-level talks had gone with a positive approach.

“We have given a roadmap to the Indians and now it depends on them as and when they respond to this roadmap positively.”

The continuity of dialogue is in the interest of Pakistan and India, as well as the entire region. Pakistan is not desperate for dialogue with India, but as both countries are nuclear powers, it is in their mutual interest to settle differences and disputes through negotiation for the security of the entire region, he said.

“It is imperative for Pakistan and India to work in a cooperative mode to address the issue of terrorism.” To hold the peace process hostage on “the pretext of one single incident was not a mature approach.”

“We will keep on trying to get engaged with India in a meaningful, purposeful and result-oriented dialogue process.”

It was the success of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts that India acknowledged that the dialogue process had proved beneficial for the region, he claimed.

Responding to a question, Mr. Basit said the Foreign Secretary-level meetings without any agenda would yield no results.

Keywords: Abdul BasitIndiaPakistan

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