Diplomat Romesh Bhandari welcomes resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue

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New Delhi / Jammu /Pune, Feb 23 (ANI): Former diplomat Romesh Bhandari on Tuesday opined that resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan would help both the countries to clear air and set ground for more substantive talks in the future.

Speaking to ANI, Bhandari said: "War is not an option. It was ruled out in the Shimla agreement in 1972 and it is being further reinforced by the fact that we are both nuclear powers."

"Therefore, if war is not an answer then what is the answer - dialogue. Therefore, this dialogue has to continue. Now there will be interruptions but we have to overcome them and see them in the longer perspective," he added.

Dutta Gardwe, a Mumbai resident who witnessed the 26/11attacks that led to the current standoff, said Pakistan's action against those behind the attacks would help assure aggrieved Indians.

"Some of the Pakistani people who carried out the attacks in India have been traced back to Pakistan, so it is not right to have talks at this juncture. First there should be action against these people, only then the talks should resume," Gardwe said.

However, in some circles in India there is a feeling that Pakistan has made some real progress in probing the suspected masterminds behind Mumbai attack.

"Talks must resume, without talks there can be no solution. Even earlier we have had blasts in India. Even if India has to start the dialogue - it should be started because without that we will not get anywhere," said Puja, another resident of Mumbai.

Analysts say Pakistan does not want the talks to concentrate on security because it is sensitive to Indian criticism it has not done enough to curb anti-Indian Pakistani militant groups.

An easing of tension with India would help Pakistan to focus on its fight against al Qaeda-linked militants on that its western borders with Afghanistan.

"It does not make sense to have the talks only on a one point agenda because that will take us nowhere. The engagement requires that we should talk on a broad front and there are several issues hat need to be discussed and if you really want to change the Indo-Pakistan dynamics then all the issues must be addressed with all sincerity and with the resolve to find answers to these problems which have been bedeviling the relationship," said retired Lieutenant General Talat Masood. (ANI)

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