India's concerns can be addressed only through talks: Pakistan | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India's concerns can be addressed only through talks: Pakistan

delhi Updated: Apr 12, 2009 10:22 IST

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Making a strong pitch for resumption of composite dialogue stalled after Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has said that India's concerns can be addressed only by cooperating with it and not by accusing it.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said India, by refusing to talk, would be "promoting and strengthening the hands of terror".

He said terrorism and extremism are a global phenomena and "friends in India" should understand that "this is a common challenge" and "common enemy" which needs to be tackled collectively.

"I understand your concern. You can only address that concern by cooperating with Pakistan and not accusing Pakistan. That negative policy will not be in your interest," Qureshi told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme.

"We had in place a process or the Composite Dialogue. Unfortunately, the tragic Mumbai incident put that on hold. I would be interested in re-starting that process because I feel that was a meaningful process, we were making incremental progress," Qureshi said.

He said for good relations, the two countries have to address the outstanding issues between them and Kashmir is one of them. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that the dialogue process can not resume till Pakistan shows sincerity in punishing those guilty for Mumbai attacks and ending terrorism directed against India. Singh said this was the "minimum pre-condition".

Qureshi said by rejecting talks, India is "strengthening militancy and you are promoting and strengthening the hands of terror. The sooner you realise that the better it is for you."

The Pakistan foreign minister said it was in the mutual interest of India and Pakistan to bring the culprits of Mumbai attacks to justice but his country does not accept conditions.

"Now, what I am saying is, what we have to understand is, there are no conditions and we would not accept conditions," he said.

"We want to cooperate with you and we have to move ahead. We can not do it alone. We can do it collectively," Qureshi said.

He said Pakistan has taken "very positive steps" with regard to dismantling the terror infrastructure "which are not being recognised and you are overlooking them."

Pakistani authorities have arrested "very high profile people" and "proscribed some very important organisations. We have seized and we have frozen assets. We have taken a number of steps and this is an ongoing process," he said.

Qureshi said Pakistan had also deployed over 100,000 troops on the western border dealing with extremism and terrorism. "These are all positive steps to dismantle and to challenge extremists and terrorists." Qureshi said peace on the Indo-Pak border is essential for both the countries in context of fighting terrorism.

"If there are tensions between Pakistan and India on the eastern border, we lose focus. It is in our mutual interest to remain focused on the western border," he said.

On concerns about ISI having links with the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda, he claimed that the spy agency has been "cleansed" and it now understood that terrorism was a challenge.

"Now we are in the process of restructuring ISI. ISI has been cleansed. The present leadership of ISI is very clear that this challenge (of tackling terrorism and extremism) is our challenge," he said.

Qureshi said ISI has made positive contribution in fight against terrorism and extremism.

"Without ISI's help you could not have apprehended the 700 or so Al-Qaeda operatives. ISI has done more than any other organisation has done," he said.