Phone diplomacy may thaw Indo-Pak chill
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told Parliament on Thursday that he would speak with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the phone on Friday.
The telephone call was being “scheduled” and Krishna intended to invite Qureshi to Delhi for talks, sources said.
Qureshi had said he did not have any “issues” with visiting Delhi though “he intends to invite” Krishna as soon as the budget session of the Indian Parliament ends.
The last foreign minister-level talks were held in India. It is the turn of the Indian foreign minister to visit Islamabad.
If Krishna goes to Pakistan, it would be construed as continuation of the composite dialogue — which Islamabad wants to revive and New Delhi is averse to.
The last foreign minister-level talks happened when Qureshi came to India in November 2008 to review the composite
Krishna said in the Rajya Sabha that he would discuss with Qureshi the modalities for reducing the “trust deficit” between the two countries.
“Indeed, I am talking to my Pakistan counterpart tomorrow (over phone),” he said.
Qureshi had said in an interview to CNN-IBN, “I think both sides would acknowledge the fact that there is a trust deficit and the prime ministers have asked the two foreign ministers to bridge that trust deficit. I have certain proposals which I am going to share with S.M. Krishna when I get an opportunity to meet with him,” he said.
“We have a much bigger agenda and we should not let any individual, non-state actor or any terrorist organisations impede the peace process. We should develop it to such an extent that it becomes irreversible,” Qureshi said when asked about the Kasab conviction and its implications for Hafeez Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Krishna emphasised that India had decided to continue dialogue as there had been a “transformation” in ties, with assurance coming from the Pakistani Prime Minister that India’s “core concern” with regard to terrorism would be addressed adequately.
“The two foreign ministers will discuss the modalities to remove the trust deficit as mandated by the two prime ministers,” a government official said.