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Ansari says India, Pak should look at the future

Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday expressed optimism over the prospect of India and Pakistan resolving their differences and said "looking to the future" rather than the past was the key.



Prague: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday
expressed optimism over the prospect of India and Pakistan
resolving their differences and said "looking to the future"
rather than the past was the key.

Ansari said India and Pakistan "almost got there" in
solving their problems during the tenure of former President
Pervez Musharraf and asserted that attempting to normalise
relations with Islamabad has been the characteristic of every
Indian government.

The Vice President said South Asians have a strange
way of solving their problems, referring to the problems India
had with Bangladesh.

"For many years with our eastern neighbour Bangladesh
we had problem and yet a few months back we managed to resolve
most of them. So I think, looking at that we will be able to
resolve the question of Pakistan because the SAARC can make
headway in these two countries which are the biggest," he
said.

In an interactive session after delivering an address
at Prague Security Studies Institute, he said: "During General
Musharraf, we had a series of back channel exercise with him.
Very successful bilateral exercise. We almost got there which
very few knew about. We almost solved the problem".

Ansari said relations of India with Pakistan were more
complex and the partition of the two countries was more
painful than what the erstwhile Czechoslovakia witnessed.

"Here you call it velvet divorces. But in our part of
the world in our living memory divorces have been more
painful, lingering memory of the divorce are poisonous," he
said.

The Vice-President said despite Pakistan`s "underhand
tactics" successive Indian government has been trying their
best to improve relations with its western neighbour.

"We have some problems with Pakistan, we fought wars
with Pakistan. Pakistan has been resorted to what can be
described as series of unfair, underhand tactics in their
bilateral relations with us. They tried war, they tried
insurgency, they tried sabotage, they tried terrorism. Each of
these things they have tried but failed," he said.

The Vice President said the solution of the problem
lies on the acceptance of existing realities and "looking to
the future" and not to the past.

"So I am not pessimistic on the question of Pakistan.
Yes, many people say that we should not very optimistic at
all. It is a complex process and I think we will get there,"
he said.

The desire to normalise relations with Pakistan has
been the characteristic of every Indian government, he said,
citing the example of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who undertook a
historic bus journey to Lahore.

"In late 90`s we had a government headed by a
political party which is perceived to be very hostile to the
idea of Pakistan and yet the Prime Minister of the day and the
leader of that party in a symbolic gesture travelled to
Pakistan -- not in a Prime Ministerial plane but in a bus.

"He went closer to Lahore which Pakistanis consider as
the symbol of national identity, it is a monument. He went
there because he wanted to say clearly, publicly that India
accepts the existence of Pakistan and that India desires
friendly relations." Ansari said.

He said India at that point had started a process with
Pakistan which is a bit "roller coaster" but essentially to a
certain direction.

He also made it clear that any question of redrawing
the boundaries is out of question, that has been India`s
policy right from the word go and the country was willing to
look at things and find satisfactory solutions.

PTI

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