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Qureshi for right environment ahead of India visit

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today said he expects to visit India early next year, but the environment must be right.

world Updated: Nov 22, 2010 20:26 IST

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said he expects to visit India early next year, but the environment must be right.

"I feel the need to continue to engage in a dialogue," he told PTI after delivering a lecture on 'Pakistan in the Next Decade: Prospects and Challenges' at the S Rajaratnam Schools of International Studies.

While Qureshi expected his India visit to take place early next year, he underlined the need for right environment to hold the talks as he was not satisfied with the outcome of the July meeting with Indian counterpart SM Krishna.

Shah also stressed on the need to bridge the "trust deficit" between India and Pakistan, saying both neighbours would have to build confidence for mutual and regional benefits.

Shah arrived in Singapore yesterday for a three-day visit.

His lecture focused on peace and prosperity in South Asia and the need for India and Pakistan to have a mindset change in progressing further, especially in helping achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Shah also condemned the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, and sympathized with the family of those who lost their lives, including a Singapore lady and her daughter.

Shah said he would want to see those responsible for the Mumbai attacks charged in court of justice and assured that Pakistan was not condoning terrorism and terrorist acts.

In his lecture and the following questions and answer session, Shah stressed the need to fight the terrorists and insurgents.

But he pointed out that India and Pakistan alone would not be able to tackle them and would need the support of international community in fighting the menace.

"The terrorists have done damage to Pakistan and killed the people of Pakistan," he said, adding that his government would fight these elements despite the challenging conditions on the ground.

He also highlighted Pakistan's support for the Afghanistan government, pointing out that Pakistan has increased deployment of security personnel along the border to check on terrorist movements with its neighbour.

But more terrorists were coming in from Afghanistan than those from Pakistan moving into the Afghan territory, said Shah.

There are more check posts on Pakistan side of the border than on Afghanistan side to check the terrorist movements, he said at the lecture attended by some 200 Singapore-based scholars.

First Published: Nov 22, 2010 20:24 IST