Singh pledges to widen peace talks with Pakistan
LONDON: Indian Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh said on Wednesday that New Delhi would not only carry forward peace talks with Pakistan but would also widen these discussions as the atmosphere between the two countries was “conducive” for it.
Addressing a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw following their 45-minute “wide-ranging talks”, Mr Singh said, “We have always been in favour of the dialogue with Pakistan even when Congress was in the opposition.”
“The framework of this dialogue is the Simla Agreement, the Lahore Declaration and the January 6 statement in Islamabad,” said Mr Singh.
“I am glad to say that the atmosphere in both countries is conducive to carrying the dialogue further,” Mr Singh said.
The Indian foreign minister also referred to his telephonic conversations with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri and said both sides would continue the dialogue in a friendly atmosphere.
Mr Singh said the Congress President Sonia Gandhi had accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan but the date had not yet been decided.
Asked about the change of borders between India and Pakistan, Mr Singh said, “The question of the border does not arise as long as Pakistan and India are able to conclusively resolve the issues bedeviling their relations.”
Mr Singh told a questioner that there was no question of sending Indian troops to Iraq.
In his opening statement, Mr Straw said he had very good discussion with Mr Singh on bilateral, regional and international issues. He said India was the UK’s strategic partner and was playing a key strategic role in combating terrorism.
Mr Singh, in his opening remarks, said India’s relations with Britain were marked by “hard times and great expectations” and now were very good times. Mr Singh said he had “very stimulating discussion” with Starw on a number of matters including Pakistani-Indian relations. app