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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Create better environment to further ties: PM to Pak

PTI  New Delhi, March 06, 2013
First Published: 21:13 IST(6/3/2013) | Last Updated: 21:14 IST(6/3/2013)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the barbaric killing of Indian soldiers in Kashmir had cast a shadow on bilateral ties and asked Pakistan to create a conducive environment to take the normalisation process forward.

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Singh also underlined that enhancement of bilateral cooperation and economic relations with Pakistan was in the mutual interest of the two countries.

"Incidents like the barbaric killing of two Indian soldiers on the Line of Control in January 2013 vitiate the atmosphere and cast a shadow on the bilateral dialogue process," he said.

Singh was replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister said he was yet to see any "tangible progress" in dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Observing that better relations were in mutual interest, Singh said, "We also expect Pakistan to take steps to create a conducive environment to take the process of normalisation forward."

On relations with China, the Prime Minister said the new leadership had conveyed to him their desire to strengthen the strategic communications between them.

"The new leadership in China has conveyed to me their desire to strengthen our strategic communication and to forge a better future for our relations," Singh said.

On members' concerns regarding dams on river Brahmaputra in China, Singh said India had voiced its concern to the Chinese leadership at every level.

Singh said the Chinese leadership had assured India that the projects on Brahmaputra were run-of-the-river projects and not aimed at creating water storage facilities.

"China has officially assured us that these are run-of-the -river projects and will not result in water storage," he said adding India would remain vigilant about all developments in its periphery.

On the boundary issue, Singh said the two countries have differences and mechanisms have been evolved to address the issue and to maintain peace and tranquility on the border.

Singh said special representatives appointed by the two countries were discussing a framework for settlement of the boundary.

Pending a settlement, both sides are committed to maintain the status quo and peace and tranquility in the border areas, he said.

"Last year, our two countries established a new mechanism to ensure this. We had also agreed that differences on the boundary question should not come in the way of mutually beneficial cooperation," he said.

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