New York: Brushing aside recent stepped up
rhetoric from Pakistan, India Saturday said it was ready to
discuss all issues with Islamabad, including Kashmir.
"Everything that they want to discuss and everything we
want to discuss with them will be discussed" during Pakistan
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi`s possible visit to
India for talks, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said here.
He was reacting to questions on recent Pakistan Foreign
Office statement that there can be no result-oriented
discussions with India on Kashmir unless it stops treating it
as its integral part and Qureshi`s remarks seeking US
intervention on the issue.
Krishna, who is here for the UN General Assembly session,
said he looked forward to hosting Qureshi in India.
"Well I was in Islamabad and we did talk and I have
invited Excellency Qureshi to come to India and he has very
graciously accepted my invitation," Krishna said. "I am
looking forward to hosting him in Delhi... and the dates have
to be worked out."
Qureshi, who is also here, has raised the issue of
Kashmir several times during the past few days and called for
Addressing a small gathering at the Asia Society, the
Pakistani Foreign Minister described Kashmir as a "festering
sore of South Asia".
"The United States, as the world leader, has special
responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of
Kashmir," the minister said.
However later in the day, Qureshi appeared to tone down,
noting that the US could play a "facilitating role".
"I know India is allergic to third party intervention,"
he said. "They (US) can play a facilitating role but
ultimately ... we have to see what Kashmiris want," he said.
Rebuffing Pakistan`s attempt to involve the international
community in resolving the Kashmir issue, India has
categorically said there is "no scope" of third party
mediation on Kashmir which is an integral part of the country.
Krishna, however, underlined that despite these recent
remarks by Pakistan, talks would continue.
"India wants to keep Pakistan engaged in talks because we
do not see any other alternatives... talks are the only way to
take this forward," the Indian minister said.
"I think India has already reacted to whatever Foreign
Minister Qureshi has said and I do not have to repeat...," he
said in response to a question.
Qureshi and Krishna had a "chance encounter" on Thursday
at the UN, where they greeted each other warmly and talked
about the floods in Pakistan.
At this stage, Indian diplomats have not confirmed any
bilateral meeting between the two ministers here on the
sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, but a senior
diplomat from Pakistani claimed that a meeting had been
cleared by both ministries and was expected to take
place early next week.
Krishna is in New York till September 29 while Qureshi
till September 30.