Dialogue best way to resolve Indo-Pak issues: Krishna

5 years ago | 06-09-2012 | IBNS

The Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday said dialogue is the best way to solve India-Pakistan issues.

Talking about the India-Pakistan dialogue process in an interview to Hindustan Times, Krishna said: "Dialogue is the best way to resolve issues between two sides. We have travelled some distance since our bilateral dialogue was resumed in February 2011. There has been some progress in the area of economic and commercial cooperation and promotion of friendly exchanges, including people-to-people contacts."

"In other areas like terrorism, much more needs to be done and there are challenges that exist but that shouldn't deter us from talking about how to resolve these difficult issues."

Krishna said: "I cannot prejudge the outcome of the meeting that I am going to have with my counterpart Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. However, we remain committed to resolving all issues with Pakistan through a bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence."

"At this stage, there is no proposal to raise the structured dialogue process to a ministerial level. In diplomacy, we cannot fix artificial timelines for such important and complex issues between two countries."

Talking about the issue of suitable outcomes that would warrant a PM visit to Pakistan the minister said, "I don't think PM is making his visit conditional on any big takeaways as you call it. All he is saying is that for a visit of such importance the time and atmosphere has to be appropriate, and the visit has to be well prepared keeping outcomes in mind."

On the issue of Pakistan taking meaningful action in bringing the Mumbai attack plotters and minders to justice, Krishna commented, "In diplomacy, one does not set pre-conditions for dialogue. We are certainly not doing so ! You may be aware that under the resumed dialogue two rounds of Secretary level talks on various issues have been completed and I am going to Pakistan to review progress in the dialogue process with my Pakistani counterpart."

"However, we have consistently conveyed to Pakistan that for the dialogue to be meaningful, comprehensive and sustained, Pakistan must address our terrorism-related concerns, including on the Mumbai terror attacks case.

"This would go a along way in bridging the trust deficit and lead to eventual normalization of relations."

He further said, "It is not as simple as you are making it out to be. These are complicated legal issues in which the executive has to work within the confines of law and in consultation with all concerned."

Krishna commenting on Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's eagerness on the urgent resolution of the Siachen issue, said, "We are committed to resolving all outstanding issues between the two countries through dialogue."

"We are convinced that for the normalization of relations between our two countries a step-by-step graduated approach is the most realistic one. Given the complexities of the issues involved, we have to move forward by tackling the 'doables' first and at the same time continuing with our sincere efforts to resolve the more intractable issues."

On suggestions for a joint investigation into the Mumbai attack case, Krishna stated, "Under the Home/Interior Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan there is agreement on cooperation on security matters between our respective agencies. However, the challenge is to realize these agreements on the ground."

"The declared intention has to be matched by tangible action. In the past, we did not have a very good experience with the Joint Anti-terrorism Mechanism (JATM) that had been set up between the two countries and that is why it was not pursued.

"As for the Mumbai terror attacks case, we believe that we have given more than adequate evidence to Pakistan to enable them to bring all the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice," he said.

"Our relationship with Pakistan is an Indian issue and cannot be looked at from a regional or provincial angle. I look at this issue from an Indian perspective," the minister said.