Krishna plays down Pakistan's jibes, says talks in Islamabad were positive

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New Delhi, Jul 16 (ANI): Ignoring the satirical jibes made by his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Malliah Krishna expressed hope and optimism on the resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue.

He said this on his arrival at New Delhi from Islamabad on Friday, and noted that the talks had greatly reduced the trust deficit between the two neighbouring countries.

Krishna went to Islamabad on July 14 on a three-day state visit and held talks with Qureshi on July 15 in an effort to build mutual trust between the two countries.

While conveying his satisfaction with the talks, Krishna played down Qureshi's remarks, saying that there were more pressing issues that needed to be addressed first.

"Well, I am not going to score debating points over Foreign Minister Qureshi. I would like to concentrate on the serious issues. The fact of the matter is that we did discuss many issues which are of great concern to both of us, both the countries, and I think we have made some headway," said Krishna.

Responding to a reporter's query pertaining to the widening trust deficit between the two nations, Krishna asserted that his visit stood testimony to the fact that India wanted peaceful ties with Pakistan.

"I would consider that the fact of the matter that I went to Islamabad, we talked about some of the burning issues that confront the two countries, and other issues that confront our two countries were discussed in great detail. To that extent, I think we have contributed in a manner where the trust deficit is getting reduced," added Krishna.

He also reiterated India's call for Pakistan to expedite investigations and trial of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Insisting that India remained tough on militancy and extremism in the subcontinent, Krishna added that radical groups in Pakistan would have to be eliminated for ensuring a stable bilateral relationship.

"We did not insist on a timeline. We told them that terror is the biggest obstacle in normalising relations between India and Pakistan. As long as this is not met, all the other efforts would be futile," observed Krishna.

He also refused to comment on the statement made by Qureshi in Islamabad, in which he had alleged that India was 'unprepared' with a limited mandate for the talks.

"Well, India was fully prepared. Our mandate was very clear and there was no ambiguity. As External Affairs (Foreign) Minister of this country leading these talks, I confined myself to the mandate which was given to me and I am quite satisfied with the talks," added Krishna.

Indian and Pakistan Foreign Ministers had met for over six hours on July 15, but remained poles apart on resolving issues of mutual concern.

India has accused Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group and its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of being behind the attack in Mumbai. (ANI)

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