Pak says committed to resuming dialogue with India

Pak says committed to resuming dialogue with India

Mutual cooperation and dialogue are the only way forward and will benefit both countries, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters after a function at the Foreign Office Training Academy here.

"We have to engage to resolve all issues," he said.

Asked about India's recent launch of its first nuclear-powered submarine 'INS Arihant', he said "Pakistan does not want to follow an arms race in the region but there is balance due to the strategic ability of Pakistan."

"This balance clearly indicates that war in not an option in the region and it will be a suicidal attempt," he said.

Though Pakistan has taken "serious notice" of the launch of the nuclear submarine, it "is fully aware of its defence needs and confident of its defence strength," he said, adding the country also has no aggressive designs against anyone.

As dialogue is the only way forward and there did not seem to be any lack of will among leaders of Pakistan and India, it is expected that the dialogue process will resume soon, Qureshi said.

"There is a need for leaders of both countries to adopt a careful and optimistic attitude for the resumption and success of the dialogue process...With positive attitudes, we can make progress," he said.

The atmosphere could not be made conducive for parleys unless both countries start cooperating and engaging each other with mutual respect, Qureshi said.

Pakistan and India are both victims of terrorism and cooperation in the fight against this menace is the need of the hour, he added.

Following the meeting between Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and his counterpart Manmohan Singh at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt last month, Pakistani and Indian leaders had expressed their willingness to resume the dialogue process as it is the only way forward, he said.

The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet before the annual General Assembly session of the UN and then present their report to the two Foreign Ministers, who will meet on the sidelines of the world body's session in September.

Replying to a question about the sharing of information between intelligence agencies of Pakistan and India, Qureshi said "engagement at any level is possible."

He clarified that both countries have a joint mechanism for sharing information and fighting terrorism. With more interaction, the mechanism could be further improved, he said.

Answering another query about information provided by Pakistan to India regarding alleged Indian interference in Balochistan province, Qureshi said the issue was discussed by the Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of the two sides in Sharm el-Sheikh.

"I believe sensitive matters should be handled carefully and through diplomatic sources instead of handling (them) through the media," Qureshi said.

Referring to the additional information provided to Pakistan by India on the Mumbai attacks, he said this material is necessary to make the case against persons arrested by Pakistani authorities "more logically tenable in the court."

The case is in progress in court and "more tangible and logical evidence" is required so that it could be taken to its conclusion, he added.

Five Lashker-e-Taiba operatives, including its operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, are currently being tried by an anti-terror court in Rawalpindi for alleged involvement in planning and facilitating the Mumbai attacks.

Qureshi also said he could make "any big promise" on the Pakistan-India relations but made it clear that Islamabad wanted to have dialogue with New Delhi based on reality.