Even as India and Pakistan are poised to resume their bilateral talks, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Monday said India was close to resolving issues with Pakistan during the Musharraf regime through a "series of successful back-channel exercises". He said he was still optimistic of reaching an understanding. "It is a complex process but we’ll get there."

Answering a question on Pakistan during his interaction with intellectuals at the Prague Security Studies Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Monday, after delivering a lecture on "Challenges of Global Governance in 21st Century", Mr. Ansari said the solution of the problem was accepting the existing realities. "It is a complex process and bit of a roller coaster. When General Pervez Musharraf was President, we had a series of back-channel discussions, very successful back-channel discussions and almost solved the problem. And the solution of the problem is acceptance of existing realities. There is no question of re-drawing the boundaries. I am not a [pessimist]. We had similar problems with Bangladesh over several years and managed to resolve it a few months ago when the new government was formed [there]."

The meeting, chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Hynek Kmonicek and Director of the Institute Oldrich Cerny, took political overtones as the scholars asked direct questions on the role of India in regional and world affairs.

Responding to a question on a "new global concept and paradigm", he said both the institutions, namely the United Nations and the Global Financial Institutions — that had been in existence for half a century do not reflect the reality of 2010. He said the United Nations still has to deliver on political issues. "On anything not political, the United Nations has succeeded. On political issues it is still to deliver. So many global problems today cannot be solved in a sense of nation states. We have a U.N. where everyone has a presence and a vote. Then we have the U.N. Security Council, which is not representative. The system has not succeeded in solving many problems."

The Vice-President said that similarly, the Global Financial Institutions failed in the global meltdown last year. They need to be restructured. "Some efforts are being made in G-20. The need is clear, the solutions are not."

Restructuring economy

Commenting on globalisation and restructuring of economy, he said the exercise of restructuring the economy was complex and difficult, but for a country like India because of the nature of its population, you cannot forego the need for social security. "We have a vulnerable section of the population who need to be assisted. The challenge remains to this day. This is an accepted reality across the political spectrum."

On regional cooperation and India’s role in it, the former diplomat said regional cooperation had "crawled". "We are conscious the problems cannot be resolved nationally and have to be solved regionally. Awareness is there. Efforts are there. Let’s see how fast we can move."

Asked about India’s relations with China, he said there was enough place for two neighbouring countries to work together and cooperate depending upon "which side you focus your camera on", and added, "there was no reason to be pessimistic".

To a question on India not signing the NPT, he said it was a discriminatory treaty. "The answer lies in working towards comprehensive and universal disarmament."

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