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India 'shutting its mind' with terror issue: Pak

February 23, 2010 13:31 IST

Pakistan on Tuesday said it wants 'all bilateral issues,' including Kashmir, to be discussed at the foreign secretary-level talks on Thursday and feels much progress would not be made if India restricts the dialogue to a 'narrow agenda' of terrorism.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is in Beijing on an official visit, hoped that the composite dialogue process between the two countries would be resumed in the near future.

"It (Indo-Pak foreign secretaries meeting) is going to be an exploratory meeting... Pakistan government is seriously working to improve relations with India. We seek peaceful settlement of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India," Qureshi said.

He was speaking to the media after delivering a lecture on 'Pakistan's Challenges and our Response' at the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank in Beijing.

"After 14 month they (India) have reengaged with us and invited us for a dialogue. We want a dialogue but we want a meaningful dialogue," he said.

"We want all issues that are of concern of both sides brought on to the table to that dialogue is serious meaningful and result oriented. We have to see what comes out of the 25th meeting," he said.

"If India restricts the agenda or tries to narrow it down to its own immediate needs then much progress will not be reached," he said, apparently referring to comments by some Indian officials that terrorism would dominate the talks.

Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in New Delhi on February 25.

Qureshi said India had agreed through a joint communique that acts of terrorism would not impede the process of dialogue before suspending the talks after the 'unfortunate incidents' of terror attacks in Mumbai.

"We hope that the composite dialogue process would be resumed in the near future. Pakistan has recognised the significance and the progress made through the four rounds of composite dialogue."

When an Indian journalist pointed out that Pakistan has not done much to contain India specific terror groups, Qureshi said Islamabad has taken prominent steps in that direction.

"For the sake of discussion let us agree that we have not done enough. Does that qualify for suspending dialogue and does that invite greater understanding and cooperation?" Qureshi asked.

"Should we shut our minds and look other directions realising that there is common challenge we are facing?" he asked.

The two countries should display more cooperation by holding talks to understand each other's concerns 'instead of a policy followed by India in suspending talks,' he said.

"I think that there was a realisation in India that (suspension of talks) was a negative and kneejerk reaction and I am glad you are rethinking on that. So as far being effected by terrorism is concerned, does India realise the challenge Pakistan is facing?" Qureshi added.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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