Day after, Qureshi says 'serious' about ties with India | world | Hindustan Times
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Day after, Qureshi says 'serious' about ties with India

A day after blaming India for the "last-minute hitch" in talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today said Pakistan is "very serious" about normalising bilateral ties so that the two sides could make a "new beginning of normal relations." Areas of discord | Indo-Pak war of words

world Updated: Jul 17, 2010 15:36 IST

A day after blaming India for the "last-minute hitch" in talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Pakistan is "very serious" about normalising bilateral ties so that the two sides could make a "new beginning of normal relations."

"We are very serious about normalising our relations with India. I met with my Indian counterpart in Islamabad just day before yesterday. We agreed to embark on a sustained dialogue process," Qureshi said.

The decision to continue the talks is a "good augury," he said.

"For too long, Pakistan and India have been entangled in a conflictual relationship. It is high time our two countries engage, with full sincerity of purpose, to resolve all bilateral disputes and make a new beginning of normal relations anchored in sovereign equality and mutual interest," he said.

Qureshi said normal relations between Pakistan and India will have "far-reaching salutary effects" for South Asia and beyond.

"Pakistan will do its utmost to make this happen," he said in his opening remarks at a meeting of officials of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) forum.

Sharp differences arose during talks between Qureshi and his Indian counterpart SM Krishna on Thursday over a roadmap and timeframe for future engagements.

The two ministers engaged in verbal jousting after their talks, with Qureshi even claiming that the parleys had not gone well because Krishna repeatedly received instructions from New Delhi during the talks.

"It is the nature of India-Pakistan talks that whenever there is progress, there is always a last-minute hitch. There was no hitch from Pakistan's side," Qureshi said on Friday.

Krishna rejected Pakistan's contention that India was not ready to discuss all issues and asserted that all "core" and "burning" problems were deliberated upon with the aim of reducing trust deficit.

Qureshi on Saturday referred to a wide range of issues during his speech at the FODP meeting, including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan's reconstruction efforts in parts of the country affected by militancy and violence.