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No redrawing of borders: Pranab to Pak leaders
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January 14, 2007 16:18 IST
Last Updated: January 14, 2007 20:28 IST

Ruling out redrawing of borders, visiting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Pakistan's political leaders on Sunday that India wanted a calibrated approach to resolve political differences and suggested that the two countries emulate European Union example to forge close economic and trade cooperation.

Taking time off from his hectic schedule on the last day of his two-day visit to Islamabad, Mukherjee held an over one-and-half-hour meeting with top ruling and opposition party leaders over breakfast at the residence of Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Satyabrata Pal.

The meeting, officials said, provided an opportunity for Mukherjee to hold comprehensive talks with the political leaders on a host of issues, including the India-Pakistan peace process and the political scenario in Pakistan in the run up to general elections due to be held this year-end.

They said the discussion turned on issues relating to conflict resolution when leader of the opposition Maulana Fazlur Rehman referred to Musharraf's proposals of demilitarisation, self rule and joint management.

Mukherjee told Rehman that India's stand was that borders cannot be changed and the two countries should follow a step-by-step by approach in resolving the disputes and improve relations.

Pointing to remarks by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said it is a political reality that borders cannot be changed and there was no question of changing borders. He also said that the two countries were not in a 100-meter race to resolve issues.

In this context, Mukherjee referred to European Union, which he said was bogged down with conflicts 60 years ago and since then moved forward and emerged as the most developed block after the countries of EU set aside political differences and forged close trade and economic ties.

He also pointed to Pakistani political leaders about the close cooperation forged during the 2005 earthquake that had devastated parts of Kashmir region on both sides and North West Frontier Province. Such cooperation should be followed even during the normal times, he said.

There was also general discussion on Pakistan's political scene ahead of this year's elections.

After his meeting, Rehman told the Indian media persons that it was a goodwill meeting and had no formal agenda. He said it was agreed in the meeting that all the outstanding issues should be resolved through talks so that the people could live peacefully.

Rehman said a solution to the Kashmir issue should also be acceptable to Kashmiri people so they could also live with honour and dignity.

When asked whether he supports the dialogue process between Pakistan and India, Rehman said the meeting was not informed about the details of dialogue between the two countries.

However, the focal point of the meeting was the amicable solution to all disputes between the two countries.

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