New ideas to strengthen Indo-Pak ties: Pranab

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New Delhi, May 27: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who visited Pakistan last week, has said both countries are eager to better ties. "When I had an interaction with PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML (N) Chief Nawaz Sharif, a lot of new ideas to build up confidence and to improve the relationships between India and Pakistan have come. Surely, we would explore the possibilities of how to implement it. Definitely, in course of time, I do feel many of the ideas which have been floated would take concrete shape," Mukherjee said after inaugurating the South Asian University here.

On the Indo-US nuclear deal, Mukherjee said talks to resolve differences with Communist allies have been deferred. "We were to discuss these issues on May 28, but because some of the members will not be able to attend it. We thought that as per their convenience we will hold this meeting in the first half of June," Mukherjee said.

The Indian Government has said it is seeking the broadest possible political consensus over the deal, which Washington says should be concluded before the November 4 U.S. election. The deal will give India access to American nuclear fuel and technology.

The Communists had allowed the government to negotiate global approval for the deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but have indicated they will be looking for a firm commitment at the next meeting not to "operationalise" the deal.

Commenting on the recent hijack of a Jordanian-flagged cargo ship by Somali pirates, Mukherjee said efforts are on to secure the release and safe return of the 12-member crew, which includes Indians.

"We are constantly in touch with the people. We are trying to get our people released," Mukherjee said.

The pirates last week released the ship hijacked off the lawless coast of the Horn of Africa nation, a shipping agent said on Friday.

The "Victoria", owned by a United Arab Emirates company, was carrying 4,200 tonnes of sugar in humanitarian aid sent from Denmark to the Somali capital Mogadishu.

There were conflicting and unconfirmed reports that the crew, consisting of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Tanzanians, had been released after ransom was paid.

ANI

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