Pak tries to rope in China for dialogue

Pak tries to rope in China for dialogue

India, however, was quick to react and reject any role by a third-party in its relations with Pakistan.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Islamabad would welcome Beijing’s role in the peace-process with New Delhi. He made the remark while delivering a lecture at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing.

“It is for the Indians to decide if they would be comfortable to have China talking as a third party to bridge the gap. As far as Pakistan is concerned, they (China) have a blank cheque (from us),” said Qureshi.

“Pakistan would welcome any role given to China, because of the trust and confidence we enjoy among each other.”

Reacting to Qureshi’s remark, Defence Minister A K Antony made it clear in New Delhi that India would not accept any third party role in its relation with Pakistan.

“There is no place for a third country in our talks (with Pakistan),” he told media-persons; adding that the New Delhi would always insist on resolving outstanding issues with Islamabad bilaterally.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir will meet here on Thursday for the first formal dialogue between the two countries – almost 15 months after New Delhi had suspended the Composite Dialogue with Islamabad in the wake of the November 26, 2008 carnage in Mumbai.

Qureshi on Tuesday recalled that Beijing had sent a senior diplomat to New Delhi and Islamabad to ease the diplomatic tension between the two nuclear neighbours after India’s financial capital came under attack from 10 terrorists from Pakistan.

India has all along been insisting on bilateral processes to resolve outstanding issues with Pakistan, without any intervention by a third country.

New Delhi had on November 18 last year had reiterated its position on any third-country’s role in India-Pakistan relation after US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao had voiced support for improvement in Indo-Pak ties and expressed their willingness to promote peace and stability in the South Asia.

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