NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan revived the pursuit of an ‘uninterruptible’ dialogue process on Wednesday though both sides were aware of a nagging hurdle — their wavering trust.
“This is indeed a new era of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” Pakistan’s Hina Rabbani Khar told India’s S.M. Krishna in a brief meeting with the media after their talks.
Ms Khar said she believed “that it is the desire and commitment of both the governments to make it an uninterrupted and uninterruptible process…There is no alternative to dialogue and to constructive engagement”.
Mr Krishna said he was satisfied at the progress in this round of the resumed dialogue.
“The outcomes have been as per our expectations. Above all, we have reaffirmed our commitment to resolve all outstanding issues through a comprehensive, serious and sustained dialogue,” Mr Krishna said.
“While being fully cognisant of the challenges that lie ahead, I can confidently say that our relations are on the right track. We have some distance to travel, but with an open mind and a constructive approach, which has been demonstrated in this round of dialogue, I am sure we can reach our desired destination of having a friendly and cooperative relationship between the two countries.”
Both countries had previously agreed to see their peace process as irreversible but hopes were belied after a spate of terror attacks. They had agreed to de-link the problem of terrorism with the continuation of their dialogue but again their leaders had to row back.
A joint statement said the two had agreed that terrorism posed a continuing threat to peace and security and reiterated their “firm and undiluted commitment” to fight and eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations.
“We have also agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism to bring those responsible for terror crimes to justice,” Mr Krishna added.
He said on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, “we will continue discussions with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.
Meanwhile, for the welfare of the people on both sides of the LoC, we have announced additional measures on cross-LoC travel and trade”.
“The ministers affirmed the importance of carrying forward the dialogue process with a view to resolving peacefully all outstanding issues through constructive and result-oriented engagement, and to establish friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India,” the joint statement said.
Singh invited to visit Pakistan: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh here on Wednesday and discussed matters of mutual interest, APP added.
The foreign minister conveyed to the Indian prime minister the greetings of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
She reiterated the commitment of the Pakistani leadership for friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India.
Ms Khar recalled that at Thimphu the two prime ministers had agreed that dialogue was the only way forward. The direction given by the two prime ministers had led to the resumption of full spectrum dialogue process.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed the progress made in the Pakistan-India dialogue process and described it as “heralding of a new spring” in relations between the two countries.
He stressed that India wanted the “friendliest” of relations with Pakistan. India wanted the resolution of all issues with Pakistan, he added.
Foreign Minister Khar handed over a letter of invitation from Prime Minister Gilani to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted the invitation and said that he would visit Pakistan at mutually convenient dates.
Ms Khar was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, High Commissioner Shahid Malik and Additional Secretary Sajjad Kamran.
Ms Khar also met the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Ms Sushma Swaraj, and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani.
The foreign minister underscored the importance of the BJP’s support for a sustained and result-oriented engagement between Pakistan and India.