Singapore: Noting that India and Pakistan have made "major strides" in reducing their trust deficit, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Friday said he will visit
Islamabad this summer.
"Over the past two years, we have made major strides in reducing the `trust deficit` between India and Pakistan.
"I hosted the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar in New Delhi in July last year, and plan to visit Islamabad myself this summer," Krishna said in his address at a seminar organised here by the Institute of South Asian Studies.
Krishna said both Khar and he affirmed the importance of carrying forward the dialogue process with a view to resolving peacefully all outstanding issues through constructive and result oriented engagement.
"We agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of our two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations," he said.
Krishna said New Delhi welcomed Pakistan`s efforts to normalise trade relations with India by moving from positive to negative lists, and their eventual elimination.
Recalling the meeting between Prime Ministers of both countries during the SAARC meet last year, Krishna said both reaffirmed that people are at the heart of the relationship between two countries and that people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges should be promoted. Krishna said in its immediate neighbourhood of South Asia, India has been driven by the vision of encouraging regional integration to bring about peace and prosperity for the more than one and a half billion people living in this region.
He said that as part of this vision, India has been implementing a policy of asymmetric engagement in providing greater market access to our neighbours, which enables integration in a mutually beneficial manner. "This is one of the most significant challenges facing our foreign policy today," he said.
On Afghanistan, Krishna said, "Our historical and civilisational relationship with Afghanistan is being further strengthened by India actively engaging in the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan. "We already committed two billion US dollars for this purpose".
Noting that Afghanistan joined the SAARC community in 2010, Krishna said India stands committed to help Afghanistan integrate into the regional economy of South Asia.
"The ambitious gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan in Central Asia to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as TAPI, is an example of this vision," he said.