In the midst of speculation about an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting in New York this week, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that any talks between the two countries needs to be “meaningful.”
At this stage, Mr. Quershi noted that a bilateral was still worked out, and Islamabad had sent “some suggestions” through diplomatic channels to New Delhi about these talks.
Without going to specific details about these “suggestions,” Mr. Qureshi told reporters on Monday, that he was now awaiting a response from the Indian side.
“The talks can take place immediately if a positive response is received,” the Minister said, noting that any meeting should produce results.
Pointing to wide-ranging issues between the countries including Kashmir, Siachen and water, Mr. Qureshi said, “How can Pakistan talk to India without these subjects being on the table.”
Mr. Qureshi also refuted claims that Pakistan was putting conditions on India before holding talks. “The suggestions that we have made are aimed at making the talks meaningful,” he said, underlining the need for “result-oriented, meaningful and substantive for the sake peace and stability.”
The Minister also noted that despite External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s last visit to Islamabad being dubbed as a failure, the talks had been constructive and meaningful.
Meanwhile, Mr. Qureshi ran into Mr. Krishna at a meeting for Commonwealth ministers, organised on the sidelines of the General Assembly at the United Nations. They had another “chance encounter,” last week, in the U.N. building.
Mr. Krishna told the Indian media that the two had indeed greeted each other.
Last week, Mr. Qureshi raised the issue of Kashmir several times in speeches he gave at public forums in New York. Both the Ministers, however, have spoken strongly in favour of talks as the only way forward.
“India wants to keep Pakistan engaged in talks because we do not see any other alternatives. Talks are the only way to take this forward,” Mr. Krishna said on Friday.