Pak: Include Kashmir on talks agenda

Pak: Include Kashmir on talks agenda

India signals willingness

Pak: Include Kashmir on talks agenda

Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik talking to media after a meeting with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Pakistan’s envoy to India, Shahid Malik, on Friday called on foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and conveyed to her Islamabad’s willingness to accept New Delhi’s offer for talks. Rao had invited her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to Delhi for talks.

Islamabad on Friday indicated that it would not shy away from discussing the issue of terrorism with New Delhi, but insisted on including other issues like Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen on the agenda. New Delhi also signaled its willingness to include in the agenda the issues that the Indo-Pak composite dialogue covered before the process was stalled in the wake of the 26/11 terrorists attacks in Mumbai.

“It is not about jargon. We are talking about beginning of full dialogue,” a highly placed government source said, stopping just short of calling the proposed foreign secretary-level talks a prelude to re-starting the composite dialogue.

Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had on Thursday said that Islamabad would welcome New Delhi’s offer for foreign secretary-level talks if that led to the resumption of composite dialogue. After meeting the foreign secretary in South Block here, Pakistani high commissioner to India told journalists that Islamabad had been taking up the issue of Kashmir with New Delhi at every possible opportunity and fora in the past and would continue to do so.

Malik said Pakistan would like to discuss with India all issues that were of concern to both countries. He said the composite dialogue had included many issues of mutual concerns.

New Delhi had originally planned to have the foreign secretary-level talks with Islamabad after Chidambaram’s return from the SAARC home ministers’ meet in Rawalpindi. He was supposed to have a bilateral meeting with the Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the sidelines of the conclave to know about the progress in the investigation into the 26/11 case and trial of its plotters. But Chidambaram’s visit to Pakistan has been put off as the SAARC meet itself has been postponed following a request from Nepal.
The Pakistani envoy told journalists that India was keen to have the foreign secretary-level talks in the current month itself. Vishnu Prakash, joint secretary and official spokesman of the ministry of external affairs, said both countries were trying to set mutually convenient dates for the foreign secretary-level talks.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)