Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for a quick decision by India on the gas pipeline from Iran on Friday even as External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said commercial, technical and “other” issues were still to be resolved.
Qureshi said at a press conference after talks with Mukherjee that doing the IPI pipeline would be “chicken-feed” compared to the complicated 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. The Foreign Minister felt the pipeline deal could be sewn up if the requisite will was shown. “It would be a great loss if we miss this opportunity.”
Mukherjee, on his part, stressed terrorism was a threat to democratic frameworks in both countries. “Whatever may be our political differences, we have to be unambiguous in addressing the terrorist threat.” India was hopeful that in future meetings of the Anti-Terror Mechanism (ATM), as well as in Home Secretary talks, there would be concrete results in the fight against terrorism.
The two sides also agreed that Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary would visit New Delhi for the fifth round of the composite dialogue on July 21-22 while a technical-level working group will meet in Islamabad on July 10 to take decisions on bus services, trade and truck operations across the LoC.
India and Pakistan have also held “detailed discussions” on cooperating in new Metro rail projects as well as wind and thermal power. “I have come to India with a positive agenda, representing a democratically-elected government,” Qureshi emhasised, adding that peace and stability was in the mutual interest of both countries. He, however, had to cut short his visit due to a death in the family. In a first, he was provided an Indian Air Force flight back home.