Dialogue the only way forward: Rao

Asked whether the outcome of the Singh-Gilani meeting would pave the way for the resumption of the composite dialogue, she said: “I don’t think we have to get stuck with nomenclatures”.

She said both sides agreed that dialogue is the only way forward and it was essential to open channels of communication. Rao added that there was a need to restore trust and build mutual confidence.

On the issue of Saeed, Gilani said there are some difficulties as far as their judicial system was concerned in tackling such issues. “We expressed the hope that their laws to deal with such issues could be strengthen in times to come,” the foreign secretary said. Both sides have agreed that the Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries will take this process forward now this process of try to build more trust and confidence in the relationship and address all issue of mutual concern.

However, she said no modalities have been worked so far. “The instructions of the prime minister is that the Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretaries should meet as soon as possible,” Rao said, adding that the “focus is charting the course forward. That definitely is the message from the meeting.”

“Our concerns about terrorism remains very much on the agenda,” Rao said when asked if India is delinking terror from dialogue.

Qureshi said the foreign ministers and foreign secretaries have been asked “to meet as soon as possible and meet as frequently as possible.”

Singh maintained that it would be essential for Pakistan to address the issue of terrorism and Gilani understood India’s concerns in this regard, Rao said. Gilani on his part said his country was equally seized of the issue of terrorism and wants to deal with it “effectively and comprehensively”.

While Rao said the issue of Balochistan was not taken up in a specific manner,  the Pakistani side maintained that the issue was raised. “We assure you that, we don’t want to meddle in Pakistan’s  affairs,” Qureshi said quoting Singh as telling Gilani.
The Pakistan Foreign Minister said the issue of extradition of Mumbai attacks accused Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari did not come up for discussion.

Asked when he would meet Krishna, Qureshi said that he need to contact his Indian counterpart on the timing of their meeting.

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