India gears up for foreign secretary talks with Pakistan
Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao will leave for Islamabad on Thursday to initiate new confidence building measures (CBMs) to reduce the trust deficit between the neighbours. Jayanth Jacob reports. Fair dealdelhi Updated: Jun 23, 2011 02:47 IST
Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao will leave for Islamabad on Thursday to initiate new confidence building measures (CBMs) to reduce the trust deficit between the neighbours. The two countries will be hoping to prevent the core issues — for India, terrorism and Pakistan, Kashmir — from upsetting the dialogue process.
On Wednesday, external affairs minister SM Krishna asserted that India is “making a determined effort” to have a “cordial relationship” with Pakistan. “All issues that bug our relationship are going to be discussed when foreign secretary visits Islamabad,” Krishna told reporters.
The two foreign secretaries will review the dialogue process, besides preparing the ground for a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, in New Delhi in July during their June 24-25 talks.On a realistic note, Krishna said "let not expectations be too high because this is one of the relationships we have been trying to cultivate since the last few months."
Asked whether India would raise the issue of terrorism during the meeting, Krishna said: “The whole region is terror-infested ...all issues concerning terrorism and various other issues will be discussed.” Considering Jammu and Kashmir, the core issue for Pakistan, is on the agenda, Krishna didn’t want over-hype terrorism.
Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said the issue of “terrorism that inflicts our region is of utmost concern to everyone in the region,” adding even Pakistan realises as much. But Rao called for a closure of 26/11 attack case expeditiously.
She also spoke about the confidence building measures to bring down the trust deficit. Trade, connectivity, people-to-people contact, and nuclear safety are the areas where both sides are to put in place CBMs.
Answering another question, Rao said China cannot be a factor in the contentious issues, such as Siachen, between India and Pakistan.