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PM won't visit Pak in near future: Pranab

India remains committed to peace but the effort would mean little if Pak doesn't end cross border terrorism, says Pranab.
By Kolkata | None, Reuters
UPDATED ON JUL 31, 2006 02:31 AM IST

India remains committed to making peace with Pakistan but the effort would mean little if it does not help curb the movement of Islamist terrorists across the border, the Defence Minister said on Sunday.

Pranab Mukherjee's comments came just a day before top officials from the two old rivals hold talks in an effort to resume a peace process which has been put on ice by bomb blasts in Mumbai.

New Delhi called off talks scheduled for earlier this month after the July 11 bomb attacks, which it says could have been organised by a Pakistan-based radical Islamic group or by the country's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.

Both Pakistan and the Islamist group denied the charges.

"Every government of India is committed to peace, with Pakistan, with everybody. Where is the question of wavering? It is not that it has been stopped permanently," Mukherjee, said in an interview.

"The peace process is a continuing one...but peace for what? It is to ensure that there would be no terrorist infiltration, no terrorist activities aided and abetted by Pakistan," Mukherjee said on a flight from New Delhi to Kolkata.

"That is the objective of the peace process."

It was inevitable that India would take steps like putting off peace talks after terror attacks like the Mumbai blasts in which more than 180 people were killed, the minister said.

Pakistan says it has done all it could to stop the insurgents in line with a pledge it made in 2004 when the two countries launched fresh moves to make peace and resolve their territorial claims over Kashmir.

With the peace process coming under severe strain after the Mumbai blasts, some Pakistani leaders have suggested that the Indian prime minister visit Pakistan under an invitation he has accepted but not set dates for a trip.

Such a visit would breathe fresh life into the peace process and improve the "atmospherics" between the neighbours, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri said in an interview to an Indian weekly published this weekend.

Asked if a trip by Singh to Islamabad in the near future was a possibility, Mukherjee said there was no such plan at the moment.

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