Responding to a query on why India was open to talks now, the External Affairs Minister said nothing was static in relationships between countries.
India’s move to resume talks with Pakistan on all outstanding issues was a “conscious decision”, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna today said, adding that it was “necessary” for both sides to also discuss Afghanistan.
“It is a conscious decision that was made,” Mr. Krishna, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit, told PTI.
Mr. Krishna, who is here on his first visit to the United Nations after India became a non-permanent member for a two-year term last month, said: “We will have to sort out all the outstanding issues between our two countries.”
“We are hopeful the talks between the foreign secretaries will go in a direction that is positive and pave the way for a bigger meeting (between the foreign ministers) whenever that will be,” he added.
The composite dialogue between the two sides were put on hold after 10 Pakistani terrorist carried out coordinated attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people. Before entering into talks with Pakistan again, India wanted the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice.
Responding to why India was now agreeing to talks, Mr. Krishna said, “Nothing is static in relationships between countries.”
The minister, however, stressed that New Delhi still expected Islamabad to act expeditiously on the Mumbai attacks.
“India expects that Pakistan will take continue to take steps to bring to justice all those perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks,” he said.
“Having taken that position it is necessary for our two countries to engage on various other issues where we will be able to come to reasonable agreements, which will be beneficial to the people for both the countries,” he added.
The stage was set for renewed talks when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Thimphu on Sunday.
The talks will include issues like Siachen, Kashmir, counter-terrorism, peace and security, economic issues, humanitarian issues, the Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project and Afghanistan.
Mr. Krishna also said that it was “necessary” for India and Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan.
“I think it was necessary for us to discuss Afghanistan... India has been playing a very positive role in trying to build Afghanistan in terms of our volunteers who have gone there for capacity building and so I think Afghanistan had to be included,” he said.
Afghanistan is the new item on the agenda for discussion.
So far, Pakistan has been wary of India’s ties with Kabul. Islamabad continuously questions why New Delhi has so many consulates in Afghanistan. Pakistan also accuses India of using Afghanistan as a base to establish a military presence against it on its eastern border.
A recent report published by New York University claimed that concerns of Kabul and New Delhi becoming too close in the post-2001 period, was one reason why Pakistan was hesitant to act against Taliban and Al Qaeda.