Brushing aside the recent stepped up rhetoric from Pakistan, India on Saturday said it was ready to discuss all issues with Islamabad, including Kashmir, but ruled out any third-party intervention.
“Everything that they want to discuss and everything we want to discuss with them will be discussed [during Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's possible visit to India for talks],” said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
He was reacting to questions on the recent Pakistan Foreign Office statement that there could be no result-oriented discussions with India on Kashmir unless it stopped treating it as its integral part, and to Mr. Qureshi's remarks seeking the United States' intervention to settle the issue.
Mr. Krishna, who is here for the United Nations General Assembly session, said he looked forward to hosting Mr. Qureshi in India.
“Well I was in Islamabad and we did talk and I have invited His Excellency Qureshi to come to India and he has very graciously accepted my invitation,” Mr. Krishna said. “I am looking forward to hosting him in Delhi... and the dates have to be worked out.” Mr. Krishna, however, underlined that despite recent statements by Pakistan on Kashmir, talks would continue.
“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,” he said.
Separately, Mr. Krishna told an Indian TV channel that New Delhi had always “consistently rejected the whole idea [of third party intervention]”.
“I think when we are talking to each other, intervention by any other country may not be that appropriate. Well, if you were not on talking terms at all, then perhaps intervention by third countries could have been helpful but here the case is quite different.
“Will continue talks”
“We are talking and we will continue to talk and the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that engaging with Pakistan is one of our concerns and we will certainly keep talking to them,” he told Times Now in response to a question.
Mr. Krishna said India has been a victim of terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistani soil, which is a cause of concern to it.
“Terror is one of our core issues and after the attack on Mumbai, we have drawn Pakistan's attention to the follow-up that needs to be done by them in terms of bringing [to book] all those culprits or the conspirators, the brains behind that heinous crime on not only India but on humanity itself.
“I think they should hasten the process. They have arrested a few and then there are a large number of them who are still at large and I hope Pakistan will show its seriousness in pursuing this,” the Minister said.