India to resume composite dialogue with Pakistan

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New Delhi, Mar 19: India today said it will resume composite dialogue with Pakistan as soon as the new government is formed in the neighbouring country and the issues of Prisoners of War (POWs) and visa and trade liberalisation will figure prominently in the talks. ''We have asked Pakistan not to allow terrorist to use their territory,'' External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his reply to the discussion on foreign policy in Rajya Sabha. He said visa regulations need to be further liberalised along with trade and commerce. On the simmering unrest in Tibet, Mr Mukherjee made it clear that Dalai Lama was allowed into India in 1959 only as a spiritual leader and the government had asked him not to indulge in politics that would affect Indo-China relations.

Dwelling on Nepal, he said India has not created any chaos in the Himalayan state but has only tried to defuse the volatile situation. ''We have been counselling political parties. We do not have territorial ambitions (in Nepal),'' he added. Elections are to be held for a Constituent Assembly which would pave the way for the formation of a democractic state in Nepal, he noted. On the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis, he said these are internal issues and have to be thrashed out within the realms of their constitution. ''Tamils have every right to live in Sri Lanka. For Sri Lanka, a political solution is the only answer,'' the Minister said. Expressing deep concern over the recent attacks in Gaza, the Minister said Palestinians have every right to have their homeland just like Israel. ''Nobody can deny this. There is no question of diluting our stand,'' he said.

On SAARC, he said the SAARC development fund programme is on and when it meets at Colombo, the issue would be taken up. Also would be taken up is the SAARC food bank programme, the Minister said.


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