Structured dialogue can reduce tensions between India, Pakistan: Masood

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Islamabad, June 25 (ANI): Retired Army General-turned-Security Analyst of Pakistan Talat Masood on Thursday said that resumption of dialogue was the only solution to India-Pakistan problem, as a structured political dialogue would help reduce tensions between the two neighbours.

"The very fact that India has agreed now to resume negotiations and talks, it only goes to show that there is no other way but to have a political solution to the problems that bedevil India and Pakistan. I think it will definitely help in reducing tensions. It is a very constructive sort of a move and I hope the momentum of this will be maintained. It's not only just a question of having talks but also they should have structured talks and should address all the problems which are of priority for both India and Pakistan," said Masood.

The top diplomats of India and Pakistan have taken a joint resolve against militant extremism and hinted that more comprehensive discussions might be renewed after the talks.

It was the second meeting in four months between Foreign Secretaries Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir of India and Pakistan respectively.

The two last met in New Delhi - the first official talks between the two sides since the 2008 Mumbai attacks - but those discussions were seen as having achieved little.

Masood further said that both the countries needed to address each other's concern amicably.

"I think what they have to do is really help each other in trying to sort of address the concerns of the other party. At the same time, also realize that it is in the interest of the people of Pakistan and the people of India that these two governments come to an understanding on major issues," Masood said.

Tackling militant groups such as Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)- blamed by India for the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people - has been a precondition of India for restarting comprehensive talks over water, Kashmir and other disputes.

Masood, however, stated that Pakistan has grown out of the military rule and now support from India, one of the world's biggest democracies, can help them form a stable government and boost their economy reducing Pakistan's dependency on foreign powers.

"Even our military leadership is very mature and has gone through a process and is now fully conscious that the best course for both the countries is to move forward and try to resolve differences through political dialogue and interaction. That's one aspect. The other is, it's very important for the civilian government in India to strengthen the civilian government of Pakistan. And if both the countries can move forward constructively, it will strengthen democracy in Pakistan and it will also help, improving its economy, reducing the influence of outside forces including the military in formulating policies," he said.

Senior Pakistani journalist Ayaz Ameer has noted that the Mumbai attacks did leave a bitter taste in terms of the relationship between the two countries but the dialogues will definitely help to smooth things out.

"There is a change after Mumbai because everything went into a freeze after that. The composite dialogue ended, there was no communication between the two sides and the tone was a bit bitter and it was tinged with some semblance of an accusation here and there. Now anything which is a change from that, is good. The first meeting we had in Delhi between the two Foreign Secretaries, now we have a meeting here in Islamabad today, so that is good," Ameer said.

In April, the Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Bhutan on the sidelines of a regional summit and asked their foreign ministries to meet "as soon as possible to work out the modalities for restoring trust" and to take the dialogue forward. (ANI)

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