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India treads cautiously on talks with Pakistan
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi |
April 30, 2003 18:37 IST
India on Wednesday declined to say whether talks between India and Pakistan could take place in June as reportedly said by Minister of State for External Affairs Digjivay Singh.
"I am not aware of (Singh's) statement after the telephonic conversation (between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Jamali)," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Saran said.
He pointed out that he was not a 'soothsayer' to predict whether there had been any forward movement in Indo-Pak relations following the Vajpayee-Jamali telephonic conversation. Sarna, however, added the intention was to create a conducive atmosphere, which requires the end of cross-border terrorism.
Asked whether the (proposed) Indo-Pak dialogue would take place because of US pressure on Pakistan Sarna said, "I am not going to comment on the relations between two other countries."
"I think you have to see the dynamics of this process and how these things move. The telephone conversation has taken place between two prime ministers, certain elements have been pointed out for consideration at the start, we have to see whether there has been specific movement on which and what," he added.
A senior MEA source told rediff.com that optimism on proposed talks is being tempered to ensure that an 'Agra-like situation' does not arise. Vajpayee had met Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf at Agra in 2001 amid unprecedented media focus, but both failed to agree on the agenda for the talks.
The source said if the talks were to begin, it would start off at the joint-secretary level, go to the foreign secretary level and then reach the ministerial level. "That is the process and to say that they (the talks) will be held this month or that month is premature," he added.
He indicated that India had to weigh whom the talks would benefit because no government in the country could afford to reconcile to a situation wherein India's unity and integrity was endangered in any way.