Qureshi wants result-oriented agenda for his India visit

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed the need for "positive and constructive approach" after his July 15 talks with Krishna ended on a bitter note, particularly on Kashmir and terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2010, 14:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Responding to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna`s invitation to visit India, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has made it clear that he would accept it if the talks are to be "result-oriented", covering all issues of importance, including Kashmir.
He stressed the need for "positive and constructive approach" after his July 15 talks with Krishna ended on a bitter note, particularly on Kashmir and terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

"I am grateful to Mr Krishna for inviting me to visit New Delhi. The visit has to be purposeful and result oriented during which all issues of mutual concern should be
discussed," Qureshi told a news agency in an email interview.

He was responding when asked about Krishna`s invitation to visit India for talks which is still under consideration of Pakistan.

Queried whether he had any expectations from India before deciding on coming to India, Qureshi said, "the discussions during the visit have to cover all issues of importance and
should be meaningful and result-oriented."

He said Pakistan is ready to walk the "extra mile" as it wants to "move forward" in building relations with India but insisted that the two countries need to be "mutually
accommodative".

Pressing for a "comprehensive and sustained" engagement, he maintained that Kashmir issue would have to be the part of any discussions and "selective" approach would not be helpful.

Asked whether the efforts to bridge the trust gap had received a serious blow during his July 15 talks with Krishna, Qureshi said, "It is true that we have not been able to map
the future course of engagement. This, however, does not mean that we have reached a cul de sac."

He said there is a mutual desire on both sides, at the highest political level, to engage and talk.

"We need to be mutually accommodative. As in India, there is also democracy in Pakistan. We cannot overlook our public opinion, which on some core issues is quite strong," he said.

Disfavouring any "selective" approach, he said, "as you would know, we have been discussing Kashmir. It is nothing new that we brought up."

He was responding when asked whether Pakistan would not like to have any talks with India unless Kashmir is on the agenda as it has been terming it as its "core issue".

Pakistan wants to engage with India "in accordance with the Thimphu spirit", he said referring to the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Bhutanese capital on April 29 when they
agreed that the two countries should work to reduce trust deficit.

"In Pakistan, we would like to see our relations with India move forward. Let us work together," he said.

"The Islamabad meeting did provide us a good opportunity to put across our respective positions frankly and honestly. It, therefore, served a useful purpose," Qureshi said.

He was replying to a question whether he agrees with Krishna that he was "satisfied" with the talks and these had helped to "some extent" in bridging the trust deficit.

He disfavoured any "idea of placing pre-conditions for a dialogue process" when asked to respond to India`s stand that dialogue will have to be a graduated process and issues like
Kashmir and Siachen can be discussed only after Pakistan shows "visible" action on punishing perpetrators of Mumbai attacks and ending terrorism that affects India.

"Dialogue is always a graduated process. What we are saying is to embark on a comprehensive and sustained engagement," he said, adding, "We understand that there are no quick fixes."

He refused to comment when pointed out that there is a feeling that the US is pushing both India and Pakistan to have dialogue.

"At the end of the day it will be Pakistan and India themselves who will have to decide how they want their future relations to look like," Qureshi underlined.

"Let me reiterate that dialogue is the only way forward between our two countries. It is important not to detract our attention from the ultimate objective of having normal
bilateral relations. It is important, we move forward in a spirit of cooperation and accommodation," he said.

He noted that he has the highest regards for Krishna and holds him in high esteem.

PTI