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Pak must address terror threat for meaningful relations: Patil
February 22, 2010 11:41 IST

Ahead of the foreign secretary- level talks, India [Images] said on Monday that it was ready to explore a "meaningful" relationship with Pakistan if it seriously addressed the threat of terrorism and stops terror acts against this country.

The government's approach in the run-up to the talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao [Images] and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on February 25 was outlined by President Pratibha Patil [Images] in her address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. "India is ready to explore a meaningful relationship with Pakistan if Pakistan seriously addresses the threat of terrorism and takes effective steps to prevent terrorist activities against India," she said.

India is expected to focus on terrorism during the parleys. The composite dialogue between the two countries was stalled in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks [Images]. The president said infiltration of terrorists from across the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] has gone up.

"The government remains vigilant against all forms of challenges posed by terrorism. Zero tolerance of terrorist activities is our principal policy. We have to keep constant watch and innovate against global terrorist groups," she said.

India, she said, has played its role in global affairs with responsibility and in the pursuit of peace, stability and progress in its region and beyond.

Noting that India's relations with the major powers have been further consolidated, she said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] visit to the United States in November last had laid the framework for the further expansion of Indo-US partnership at the bilateral, regional and global level.

The president said visits to Russia [Images] undertaken by her and the prime minister have renewed Indo-Russian time-tested friendship and opened new areas of cooperation. India's strategic and cooperative partnership with China has progressively acquired greater regional and global content, she said.

Referring to ties with countries in the neighbourhood, she said the visits to India by leaders from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives [Images] have given a new content to traditional ties with them.

Taking note of the recent elections in Sri Lanka [Images], Patil said India would continue to work with Colombo to enhance partnership.

New Delhi [Images] will also contribute to the humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts for the Tamil minority and long term reconstruction in conflict-affected areas, she said.

On Afghanistan, she said India's assistance to reconstruction efforts in that country had witnessed important milestones.

"We will continue to partner Afghanistan in its development efforts."

The president noted that India has pursued its 'Look East' policy with vigour. She said the signing India-Association of South East Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement and the launching of several new initiatives with these countries would further integrate India into the Asia-Pacific region.
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