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India not ready for talks: Qureshi

Wasit Khan

Islamabad: Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Friday India is not prepared for the bilateral talks on outstanding issues, signifying the failure of Thursday’s day-long ministerial meeting.

Qureshi made the statement at a news conference in the Pakistani capital.

“Open mind is needed for success of the dialogues and progress, ” Qureshi said, while referring to India’s insistence on restricting the dialogues only to a very few selective issues such as terrorism.

The foreign minister said that both sides “couldn’t find common grounds.”

Reiterating Pakistan’s positive approach, Qureshi said India is stubborn on certain core issues such as Kashmir dispute on which both sides locked horns.

Despite the failure of the third foreign ministers meeting of India and Pakistan, both side still believe that the process of dialogue should continue.

The dialogue process was abandoned after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.

Contact between the two estranged neighbors has intensified in recent months, partly seen as a result of the United States pressure for a solution in the volatile region.

“If we focus more only on those issues which India gives importance to and ignore those considered important by Pakistan, then I don’t think the talks can move forward, said Qureshi.

“Kashmir has been part of our negotiations. It is a disputed territory. It is not possible to delink Kashmir from the negotiations,” he said. He said it would not make sense to discuss aspects like cultural and trade relations while ignoring “core” issues like Jammu and Kashmir, peace and security and Siachen.

“We understand their concerns and want to address those. But there are concerns of Pakistan which they (India) should address,” he said.

Qureshi said there was “no deadlock” but acknowledged that there were “difficulties and problems” that both sides would have to overcome.

“It is the nature of India-Pakistan talks that whenever there is progress, there is always a last minute hitch. There was no hitch from Pakistan’s side,” he said.

Noting that Krishna had said he was prepared to discuss all issues, Qureshi said: “We wanted that we should have a roadmap for the future at the end this discussion and they felt they did not have the mandate to commit to a roadmap.”

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