SM Krishna, Hina Rabbani Khar meet, decide to keep talking
Hailing a “new era in ties”, India and Pakistan foreign ministers on Wednesday agreed to continue the dialogue process though differences on core issues such as Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism remained. Jayanth Jacob reports. Joint statement | Kashmir trade gains | India, Pak: Major issuesdelhi Updated: Jul 28, 2011 02:08 IST
There were no big-bang announcements, but there were no fireworks either.
Hailing a “new era in ties”, India and Pakistan foreign ministers on Wednesday agreed to continue the dialogue process though differences on core issues such as Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism remained.
External affairs minister SM Krishna, 79, and his Pakistan counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, 34, announced a series of confidence-building measures for trade across the border in Kashmir as they talked about resolving issues through a “comprehensive, serious and sustained dialogue”.
Commerce ministers of the two countries are likely to meet in September and another round of home secretary-level talks are planned for near future, sources said.
Unlike the troubled meeting the foreign ministers held in July last year, Krishna and Khar, who was appointed last week, had a good meeting and candid exchange of views.
“I must say that I am satisfied at the progress achieved in this round of the resumed dialogue. The outcomes have been as per our expectations,” Krishna said.
“The dialogue process should be uninterrupted and uninterruptible, help in building trust and be result-oriented,” said Khar, the first woman foreign minister of her country. Later in the day, Khar called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and invited him to Pakistan.
The foreign secretaries struck a realistic note while briefing media on Krishna-Khar meeting. Pakistan's Salman Bashir said there were no simple answers to some of the problems between the two countries.
“Neither of us underestimate the differences. There are divergences,” said his Indian counterpart, Nirupama Rao, adding there was a political will to craft a new era of relationship.
To a query on Khar's meeting with leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, Rao said India's views were different from Pakistan. “We have expressed our concerns in a candid manner to the Pakistani side.”
Downplaying the meeting, Bashir said it couldn't be construed to have cast a shadow on the ministers' meet.
The two sides agreed to increase trading days across the LoC, allow multiple entries across the border for people of J&K, among others.