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Updated: February 4, 2010 17:08 IST

Door not closed for talks with Pakistan: Krishna

Special Correspondent
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External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna
The Hindu External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna

India has never ruled out prospects of dialogue with Pakistan, and Islamabad must demonstrate its resoluteness to combat terror by continuing to act against the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that led to suspension of the dialogue.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said this while talking to journalists on the sidelines of a function to celebrate 60 years of cultural ties between India and the U.S. by the Fulbright Commission in India, here on Tuesday.

“The doors were never shut. In our previous dialogue, focus has always been on terror and terror instrumentalities. We expect, based on the dossiers provided us, they should investigate further and bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice,” he said.

“The continuing attacks on Indian students in Australia are totally unacceptable and Canberra should take immediate steps to end such violence.” India sent tens of thousands of students to the U.S., but they were not attacked there. Indians were being singled out in Australia. Canberra should introspect the reasons for the continued targeting of Indians for over a year.

Mr. Krishna said India was “poised” to open her doors to foreign educational institutions through the enactment of a Foreign Education Providers Bill.

“We are keen to establish partnerships with premier universities in the USA to address challenges such as water, energy, healthcare, urban infrastructure, and environment. My colleague Kapil Sibal, Minister for Human Resource Development, led a delegation to the U.S. last year to discuss some of these initiatives,” he said.

The modalities of the Singh-Obama Knowledge Initiative were being worked out by both governments. Under the initiative, both leaders had announced that the governments would contribute $5 million each to launch an initiative on formation of higher education partnerships between institutions in both countries, to strengthen junior faculty in India and build linkages between the junior faculty of institutions of higher education.

“Our commitment in education in India-U.S. relations goes further back,” said Mr. Krishna. In December 2008, India endowed the Harvard University with a $4.5-million grant to enable the university to establish a fund in honour of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to provide fellowships to deserving Indian students at the university’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

In early 2009, India endowed the Columbia University with a grant of $3.5 million for creating a fund named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar that would provide fellowships in Indian constitutional studies in the Columbia University. It may be recalled that Dr. Ambedkar had studied in Columbia University and was awarded a Ph.D. by the university way back in 1927, Mr. Krishna said.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and U.S. Ambassador Timothy Roemer were present.

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