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Qureshi wants result-oriented agenda for his India visit

Responding to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's invitation to visit India, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has made it clear that he would accept it if the talks are to be "result-oriented", covering all issues of importance, including Kashmir.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2010 15:03 IST

Responding to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's invitation to visit India, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has made it clear that he would accept it if the talks are to be "result-oriented", covering all issues of importance, including Kashmir.

He stressed the need for "positive and constructive approach" after his July 15 talks with Krishna ended on a bitter note, particularly on Kashmir and terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

"I am grateful to Mr Krishna for inviting me to visit New Delhi. The visit has to be purposeful and result oriented during which all issues of mutual concern should be discussed," Qureshi said in an email interview.

He was responding when asked about Krishna's invitation to visit India for talks which is still under consideration of Pakistan.

Queried whether he had any expectations from India before deciding on coming to India, Qureshi said, "the discussions during the visit have to cover all issues of importance and should be meaningful and result-oriented."

He said Pakistan is ready to walk the "extra mile" as it wants to "move forward" in building relations with India but insisted that the two countries need to be "mutually accommodative".

Pressing for a "comprehensive and sustained" engagement, he maintained that Kashmir issue would have to be the part of any discussions and "selective" approach would not be helpful.

Asked whether the efforts to bridge the trust gap had received a serious blow during his July 15 talks with Krishna, Qureshi said, "It is true that we have not been able to map the future course of engagement. This, however, does not mean that we have reached a cul de sac."

He said there is a mutual desire on both sides, at the highest political level, to engage and talk.

"We need to be mutually accommodative. As in India, there is also democracy in Pakistan. We cannot overlook our public opinion, which on some core issues is quite strong," he said.

Disfavouring any "selective" approach, he said, "as you would know, we have been discussing Kashmir. It is nothing new that we brought up."

He was responding when asked whether Pakistan would not like to have any talks with India unless Kashmir is on the agenda as it has been terming it as its "core issue".

Pakistan wants to engage with India "in accordance with the Thimphu spirit", he said referring to the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Bhutanese capital on April 29 when they agreed that the two countries should work to reduce trust deficit.

"In Pakistan, we would like to see our relations with India move forward. Let us work together," he said.