The government on Friday said the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan held a day earlier were an “encouraging step” towards restoring dialogue and better communication between the two countries.
The two Foreign Secretaries had agreed to remain in touch and continue this endeavour, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said while making a suo motu statement in both Houses of Parliament.
Visiting Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir called on Mr. Krishna before leaving for Amritsar from where he will travel to Pakistan by road.
Official sources described the meeting as “excellent” with both sides stressing the need to ensure peace in the region.
Though India’s engagement will be predicated on Pakistan’s response to the core concerns on terrorism, “we do not dilute our position or our resolve to defeat terrorism by talking to any country. Communication and engagement represent the best way forward,” said Mr. Krishna.
Mr. Bashir expressed Pakistan’s determination to make all possible efforts to successfully conclude the Mumbai attack trial and not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activity against any country.
While noting the steps taken by Pakistan regarding the Mumbai attack, India felt they did not go “far enough” to bring the perpetrators to book in an expeditious and transparent manner or enough to unveil the full conspiracy.
On Pakistan’s desire to restore the Composite Dialogue, India said its resumption would have to await the restoration of greater trust and confidence. “If we are to build upon the past discussions held between the two countries at an appropriate time, trust and confidence between the two countries must be restored. The sincere and genuine efforts made in past years in this direction by India have, however, been repeatedly thwarted by acts of terrorism,” Mr. Krishna said.
“As the Prime Minister has said we cannot wish away the fact that Pakistan is our neighbour. The government is convinced that we must not shut the door on dialogue with Pakistan, and that such a dialogue, if it gathers momentum, holds tremendous potential for the progress and well-being of the people of our region,” he added.