In a first trip by an External Affairs Minister to Pakistan since 26/11 terror attacks, S M Krishna today arrived in Islamabad on a mission to restore trust and increase confidence in the relationship, bogged down by terrorism over which he will convey India's concerns.
During his three-day visit, Krishna will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi tomorrow and will try to find areas of convergence between the two countries, besides focusing on Confidence Building Measures in the areas of people-to-people contact, exchange of prisoners and bilateral trade.
"We hope to discuss all issues of mutual interest and concern that can contribute to restoring trust and bringing confidence in our bilateral relationship," Krishna told reporters upon his arrival.
"I also look forward to receiving feedback on the issues raised by our Home Minister (P Chidambaram) during his visit to Pakistan last month on our core concern of terrorism, particularly in the light of the discussions our Home Minister had in Pakistan in the context of interrogation of David Headley regarding the Mumbai terrorist attack," he said.
Describing his visit as an important one, Krishna said he hoped it would usher in "a new journey in our efforts to build a peaceful, friendly and cooperative relationship between our two countries."
India is committed to resolving all issues with Pakistan through peaceful dialogue based on mutual trust and confidence, Krishna said.
"I am carrying with me a message of peace and friendship from the people of India and we hope to undertake this voyage of peace, however long and arduous, jointly with the government and people of Pakistan," he said.
Krishna said he also looked forward to meeting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
During his visit here, the effort by the Indian side would be to work out the modalities of restoring trust and confidence in the relationship, thus paving the way for a substantive dialogue on issues of mutual concern.
The two Foreign Ministers have been tasked by their Prime Ministers, who met in Thimphu in April, to bridge the trust deficit and increase confidence in the relationship.
The visit takes place in the backdrop of weeks of violence in Kashmir valley, in which the Indian establishment sees involvement of elements from across the Line of Control. In fact, some see a link between Krishna's visit and timing of the violence. However, Qureshi has said that he will raise with Krishna the issue of alleged human rights in Jammu and Kashmir.
Belligerent hate-India speeches by leaders of 'jehadi' groups such as Hafiz Saeed, wanted in Mumbai terror attacks case, continue to cause concern, and which will undoubtedly be conveyed to Islamabad during the parleys tomorrow.
The least India expects is credible and effective action against those involved in terror activities against it, including those named in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks.
Home Minister Chidambaram, who was in Pakistan last month, has conveyed India's expectations to Pakistani leadership and also sought speedy conclusion of the Mumbai terror attack trial in this country. India awaits substantive Pakistani response in this regard.
Although Thursady's talks are not being described as Composite Dialogue, India will not shy from discussing any issue concerning the bilateral ties.
Afghanistan may be another important subject for discussion between Krishna and Qureshi. India has pumped in over USD one billion in assistance to the war-torn country and is unwilling to cede any strategic space to Pakistan.