New Delhi: It is vital to talk to Pakistan despite WikiLeaks expose on the role of the Pakistani intelligence in terror attacks on Indian interests, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said.
In a wide-ranging interview with Karan Thapar`s Devil`s Advocate on CNN-IBN telecast Sunday, Rao also made it clear that Islamabad cannot be given a blank cheque on the future of Afghanistan.
Underlining that dialogue was the most effective means of addressing contentious issues, she said that giving up the talks would not serve any purpose "in getting Pakistan to stop its pursuit of terrorism against India".
The foreign secretary was asked if this held true despite WikiLeaks disclosures that Pakistan was directly and clearly involving in instigating terror against India, including in Afghanistan.
"I believe that dialogue is the most effective means to tackle outstanding issues with Pakistan," she said. "In other words, dialogue is the most intelligent means of addressing points of contention."
Dialogue, she said, "has served the purpose of putting across our deepest concerns in Pakistan".
She said that what WikiLeaks had come out with was known to India for a long time.
"The role of officials agencies from Pakistan in promoting terrorism against India is something we have been speaking of and drawing attention to for a long time now," Rao said.
"We understand and we know that country better perhaps than any other country in the world."
She denied that India was dependent on the US to curb Pakistan`s terror machine.
"We are not dependent on any third country when it comes to transacting relations with Pakistan," she said. "We deal directly with Pakistan, and bilateral issues are taken up bilaterally with that country."
Turning to Afghanistan, Rao said that Washington`s increasing leaning on Islamabad for an American military withdrawal would not diminish Indian interests in that country.
"We are confident about our profile in Afghanistan and the fact that our interests will be well recognized by the international community," she said.
"This is increasingly evident in the dialogue we have with our key partners."
Rao added that "Pakistan cannot be given a blank cheque" vis-a-vis Afghanistan and any assistance to Pakistan ostensibly for counter-insurgency "could very well be used against India as the history of the last 60 years goes".
She sought to allay fears that Pakistan would virtually take over Afghanistan once the US military left, saying Afghans were too independent a people to allow themselves to be subjugated.
"Afghanistan is a fiercely independent country. And the take away we have had from meetings with the Afghan leadership in the recent past is that they are zealous about guarding that independence."
A former Indian envoy in Beijing, Rao said the relationship between India and China was complex but would be the "big story of the 21st century".
"A story based on dialogue, which we intend to conduct intelligently and which we intend to conduct with confidence so that our concerns are protected always," she added.
Rao said the two Asian giants not only have a multi-pronged, multi-sectoral dialogue but also consulted each other on multilateral issues.
India and China fought a war in 1962 but have since witnessed an increasing economic relationship, with trade volume expected to increase to $60 billion by the end of this year.