Amid speculation about an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting here this week, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Tuesday said that talks between the two neighbours were necessary but asked Pakistan to first stop supporting terrorism against India originating from its soil.
“I don’t think attention should be deflected away from the concerns that we have about terrorism and the need for Pakistan to fulfill its assurances that it will not support terrorism against India from its soil,” she said.
Ms. Rao, however, did not respond to a question about an assertion made by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahomood on Monday that Islamabad had sent “suggestions” to India through diplomatic channels that would lead to “meaningful talks.”
“The talks can take place immediately if a positive response is received,” Mr. Qureshi said, noting that any meeting should produce results.
Listing disputes over Kashmir, Siachen and water, Mr. Qureshi said, “How can Pakistan talk to India without these subjects being on the table.”
Ms. Rao, in turn, highlighted that New Delhi was ready to discuss the outstanding issues with Islamabad.
“Our position has been made very clear. We intend to persevere with a dialogue with Pakistan,” she said.
“We are ready to address the outstanding issues.”
“India and Pakistan should conduct negotiations in a very rational and sustained manner,” she added.
Mr. Qureshi had raised the issue of Kashmir several times in public forums during the course of the past week in New York -- where both he and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna have been attending the opening session of the General Assembly.
“The United States, as the world leader, has special responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of Kashmir,” Mr. Qureshi said.
Kashmir, however, was not raised at a bilateral meeting between Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to Indian officials.
“This issue has never come up in our discussions,” Ms. Rao said.