‘Create conducive atmosphere for meaningful dialogue’
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday stressed the need for the Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries to meet at the earliest to take forward bilateral dialogue.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting on the margins of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) here, Mr. Khurshid identified two prerequisites for meaningful dialogue – respecting “sentiments and sensitivities” in a reference to Mr. Aziz meeting Hurriyat leaders and avoiding “counter-productive” actions such as ceasefire violations.
“For a meaningful dialogue to take place, conducive circumstances have to be created and that has to be done by both sides. It cannot be only from one side. Some of these events have been somewhat counterproductive, unfortunately,” Mr. Khurshid said. The Minister said he did not want to give “gratuitous advice” to the Pakistani delegation but “if there is seriousness in wanting to communicate and have a meaningful dialogue with India for sustainable peace, it will be necessary to respect India's point of view, India's sentiments and sensitivities of our country.”
“This is not a dialogue that happens in isolation and needs public support. And we think that we have done a great deal to help Pakistan government to get the public support that it needs to be able to have a fair and transparent dialogue with India,” he added. Indicating India’s stand on repeated firing on the border that has led to the death of several soldiers, Mr. Khurshid thought such actions were counterproductive and incidents such as these should not happen “if there is a seriousness in desire to reach some kind of situation in which a dialogue meaningfully to take place.”
Peace on LoC
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said emphasis was on the DGMOs meeting as agreed by the two premiers in New York in September. “The understanding is that the 2003 ceasefire should hold and that peace and tranquillity on the Line of Control is one of the most important CBMs for both countries. If that holds, and the DGMOs concur with that and they meet and confirm that, we will proceed further.”
India also raised the issue of the ongoing trial in a Pakistani court on the Mumbai terror attacks; pointing out that all the evidence including transcripts had been provided to Islamabad. Mr. Aziz also met the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.
‘Terror main concern’
Earlier, Mr. Khurshid intervened at a closed door discussion at the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on regional and international issues and highlighted terrorism as one of the foremost concerns of the international community.
Mr. Khurshid emphasised that international terrorism had grown in sophistication and reach. There had been greater understanding amongst members of the international community that segmented approaches would not work. However, there was need to increase the effectiveness of collective action to counter terrorism.