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August 5, 2000
Pak will have to be consulted: Rasgotra
Our correspondent in New Delhi
India feels that Pakistan will have to be consulted for resolving the Kashmir issue as "nothing positive will emerge through a tripartite dialogue," former foreign secretary M K Rasgotra, who is leading a team of retired diplomats to Pakistan, reportedly said in Lahore on Friday.
The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported Saturday that participating in a discussion at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Lahore, Rasgotra said, "There is a realisation that Pakistan will have to be consulted while resolving the Kashmir dispute. But Islamabad will have to play a role in stopping violence in the held valley for paving the way for meaningful dialogue."
He is reported have assured Pakistanis that the statements issued from the Pakistani side regarding offers for talks were always taken seriously in India.
The delegation comprises Salman Haider, C V Rangnathan, Manorma Bhalla and P A Nazareth.
Former Indian foreign secretary Haider termed the visit as fruitful and said it was time Pakistan and India gave up oft-repeated rhetoric.
"We have to go beyond that," he said, and added there were "good signs" for talks but India needed encouragement from Pakistan to move in this direction. The Kargil episode was still a matter of concern for those who wanted to move towards reconciliation, Haider said.
Manorma said India had not turned down Pakistan's offer for talks. India only wanted reduction in violence in Kashmir before the talks as it would be difficult for Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to persuade Indians to talk without cessation of hostilities, she said.
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