“The Prime Minister has said he is looking forward to the [Pakistan] visit”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would like to see “substantive” progress on action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack before he visited Pakistan, said Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on Thursday. “The Prime Minister has said he is looking forward to the visit, but wants substantive progress on Pakistan’s action against perpetrators of the Mumbai attack,” he said answering questions after delivering a keynote address at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) as part of the Fifth IISS-MEA Foreign Policy Dialogue.

Mr. Mathai said that some progress had been made in trade and people-to-people relations with Pakistan, but “not much progress has been made in other areas”.

On India’s relations with China, he said, “It is a matter of satisfaction that we have been able to establish peace and tranquillity. We have set up a mechanism to constantly monitor the situation. It was set up last year.”

Asked about the progress in implementing the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, Mr. Mathai said that India had reached agreements with three countries for setting up nuclear plants.

On the controversy over Iran’s nuclear programme, he said that India believed that “the only way to find a durable solution is through diplomatic negotiations”. He warned that consequences of any other option could be “very serious”.

To a question about India’s relations with the U.K., Mr. Mathai said: “Exchange of actionable intelligence in real time would amount to quantum leap in the strategic relations between the two countries.”

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