India prepared to discuss all outstanding issues with Pak: Rao

"The issue of Jammu & Kashmir comes up in our relationship with Pakistan and we've said very clearly, very confidently and very transparently that we are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan," India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said yesterday.

Rao added that India wants to "persevere in our dialogue with Pakistan. It is not about segmenting this dialogue or taking away the complicated  issues from it saying we are not ready to discuss it.

That is certainly not our approach.We want to discuss all the outstanding issues and that will also  include the issue of Jammu and Kashmir."

The top diplomat, who was in Washington earlier to discuss President Obama's upcoming India visit in November, stressed that Kashmir is an internal matter as far as India is concerned.

"It is an internal affair because it (Kashmir) is an integral part of India."
She said India is "determined to persevere in our dialogue with Pakistan to resolve outstanding issues so that our region will be stable and so that  the rationale of economic development in an atmosphere of peace, for all of South Asia, remains our steadfast goal."

Later referring to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Rao told PTI it's an issue that is very much a part of what "we want to speak to Pakistan about. On Mumbai, closure is needed."
She said Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik is in touch with the Indian Home Ministry about the 26/11 trial.

"The trial has moved slowly. There has not been much progress to show out of it."  In the city to deliver the Harish Mahindra Memorial lecture at Harvard University on 'India's Global Role,' Rao said India wants to create an economic environment with its neighbours since a peaceful neighbourhood is mandatory for the "realisation of our own vision of economic growth."

However, India's vision of an enhanced South Asian cooperation for development is challenged by violent extremism and terrorism which originates in "our region and finds sustenance and sanctuary there," Rao added.

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