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Possibility of talks with India good omen: Pakistan

world Updated: Feb 02, 2010 23:17 IST

Pakistan on Tuesday termed as a good omen the possibility of bilateral talks with India resuming, saying Islamabad always welcomed any good gesture from its neighbors.

Dialogue was the only solution to the many outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, Online news agency quoted Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as telling a private TV channel.

Qureshi's remarks came a day after Home Minister P Chidambaram said in New Delhi that bilateral talks with Pakistani leaders could be on the anvil if he goes to Islamabad for the SAARC interior ministers conference.

"I presume if I go to Pakistan, I presume we will hold bilateral talks if there is an opportunity. But remember SAARC is a multilateral forum," Chidambaram told reporters when asked about his proposed visit. He was presenting his ministry's monthly report card before the media.

Islamabad is to host the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) interior ministers' conference Feb 20, and informed sources say that Chidambaram could make the trip.

There has been no ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes. The last visit was by Pranab Mukherjee in May 2008 who was then the external affairs minister.

Chidambaram's refrain -- after India submitted seven terror dossiers to Pakistan for action -- has been that Islamabad needs to do more to punish the Pakistan-based masterminds of the Mumbai attack, which claimed lives of 166 people Nov 26, 2008.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna echoed Chidambaram Tuesday, saying that the doors of dialogue with Islamabad were never shut but made it clear that talks will only focus on terrorism.

"The doors were never shut. In our previous dialogue, focus has always been on terror and terror instrumentalities," Krishna told reporters in New Delhi when asked about the possibility of resumption of composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.