Brushing aside recent stepped up rhetoric from Pakistan, India on Friday said it was ready to discuss all issues with Islamabad, including Kashmir.
"Everything that they want to discuss and everything we want to discuss with them will be discussed" during Pakistan
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's possible visit to India for talks, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said in New York.
He was reacting to questions on recent Pakistan Foreign Office statement that there can be no result-oriented discussions with India on Kashmir unless it stops treating it as its integral part and Qureshi's remarks seeking US
intervention on the issue.
Krishna, who is here for the UN General Assembly session, said he looked forward to hosting Qureshi in India. "Well I was in Islamabad and we did talk and I have invited Excellency Qureshi to come to India and he has very graciously accepted my invitation," Krishna said. "I am looking forward to hosting him in Delhi... and the dates have to be worked out."
Qureshi, who is also here, has raised the issue of Kashmir several times during the past few days and called for
Addressing a small gathering at the Asia Society, the Pakistani Foreign Minister described Kashmir as a "festering
sore of South Asia."
"The United States, as the world leader, has special responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of
Kashmir," the minister said.
However later in the day, Qureshi appeared to tone down, noting that the US could play a "facilitating role." "I know India is allergic to third party intervention," he said. "They (US) can play a facilitating role but ultimately ... we have to see what Kashmiris want," he said.
Rebuffing Pakistan's attempt to involve the international community in resolving the Kashmir issue, India has categorically said there is "no scope" of third party mediation on Kashmir which is an integral part of the country.
Krishna, however, underlined that despite these recent remarks by Pakistan, talks would continue. "India wants to keep Pakistan engaged in talks because we do not see any other alternatives...talks are the only way to take this forward," the Indian minister said.
"I think India has already reacted to whatever Foreign Minister Qureshi has said and I do not have to repeat...," he
said in response to a question.
Qureshi and Krishna had a "chance encounter" on Thursday at the UN, where they greeted each other warmly and talked about the floods in Pakistan.
At this stage, Indian diplomats have not confirmed any bilateral meeting between the two ministers here on the
sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, but a senior diplomat from Pakistani claimed that a meeting had been
cleared by both ministries and was expected to take place early next week.
Krishna is in New York till September 29 while Qureshi till September 30.