India will talk ‘on all issues’ with Pakistan: SM Krishna

Published: January 27, 2011

Indian External Affairs Minister says some issues require an ‘atmosphere of trust’.

NEW DELHI: Indian External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, has promised that his country will talk to Pakistan “on all issues” in the forthcoming talks in Thimpu, and also during the visit of the Pakistan foreign minister to New Delhi later in the year.

In a meeting with Pakistani journalists on Wednesday, Krishna however added that some differences “would be put on the back burner” as an atmosphere of trust is needed between the two countries.

Krishna told his audience that India has “come out of an adversarial relationship with Pakistan” and promised progress in the coming months on issues “that can be solved quickly.” His remarks indicate that the Indian government is moving towards re-introducing a liberal visa regime for Pakistani nationals.

The Indian external affairs minister also commented that, despite what the media had said, the meetings between the two foreign ministers in Islamabad in 2010 “did achieve progress.”  The meetings in 2011 will be a follow up to that.

In a relaxed mood, the Indian foreign minister spent over two hours with the Pakistani journalists and discussed a number of issues. He recalled his first visit to Pakistan in 1999 as part of a parliamentary delegation led by Nirmala Deshpande. During that visit, he told the audience, a meeting with Ms Benazir Bhutto, who was then leader of the opposition, lasted several hours.  He commented that one of the reasons India desired a peaceful region was because the country wanted to advance economically.  “We are on a journey of economic development,” he said, adding “our GDP growth is 8% this year and expected to be 9% in the coming year. We hope to target 10% in 2012.”

Krishna called Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi his “very good friend” and said that he was hopeful things would improve between the two countries.

There are growing expectations that India and Pakistan are heading towards substantive talks this year under which issues other than those that relate to Kashmir and terrorism – considered the two core issues between the two neighbours – will also be tackled. But Indian officials are wary of giving any details at this stage.

Krishna, a politician from South India, was criticised at home for visiting Pakistan in 2010. Several quarters said that the Indian foreign minister should have gone “only after there was progress on the case of those arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Mumbai attacks.” But the Manmohan Singh government has overcome criticism of its handling of relations with Pakistan by keeping dialogue open.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2011.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (6)

  • Jan 27, 2011 - 11:20AM

    India must realise that the destabilisation of Pakistan would increase the menace of terrorism manifold, and that it is in India’s interest to strengthen the Pakistani government in fighting the extremists. Given this convergence of strategic interests, the most important requirement at this time is the need to dispel the trust deficit that seems to be the main impediment in improving relations between them. Both need to exhibit maturity: there has to be a willingness to understand each other’s concerns and sensitivities.Recommend

  • Ben
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:04PM

    Pakistan despite its fragile economy has been forced by India to enter an arms race in order to further bleed economically. War on Terror is another front where Pakistan has to make economic sacrifices without any reward. In this situation, it is essential that Pakistan has peaceful borders both on its East and West and pursue the resolution of its disputes. India which was not ready to talk seems to have shifted its stance and has expressed its resolve to put some of its differences with Pakistan on the back burner for a while to focus on development challenges and change the adversarial mindset so that all issues pending between them could be discussed. If it happens, South Asia will overheat but this time only economically if India removes trust deficit. Read more at: link textRecommend

  • John
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:20PM

    Extraditing Mumbai terrorist from Pak to India is the great thing diplomatically and politically any Pak Gov can do to reduce the trust deficit. It is hard to see how any PAK Govt can get away with it. Terrorist or Pak people is the choice Pak Govt has to make it. Protecting the Mumbai terrorist(s) ring now at the expense of lot of good progress in Indo -Pak is a dangerous strategy and any progress will only be short lived, if history is of any guide. Indonesia and India signed $18 bn trade deals recently. imagine the trade between Indo-PAK? Until Mumbai goons are handed over, no govt in India will resolve any serious conflict. Whose interest is gained when Pak Govt protects the Mumbai terrorist? Recommend

  • BM
    Jan 29, 2011 - 10:46AM

    I doubt India is serious in having any talk. Everybody knows what happened last time. Every once in a while they called for a talk and failed badly. We should engage in dialoge with caution. Dont keep any hope. Even the talks succeed it will bear fruit after a long time. Recommend

  • Ravee
    Feb 25, 2011 - 8:57AM

    @BM:

    Your assumption is India does not do anything to overcome distrust, we indians ask a simple question, what has Pakistan to offer in terms of forward movement and improved bilateral relationship.Recommend

  • Feb 27, 2011 - 1:10AM

    @Ravee, The ball is in the India’s court for the last 63 yrs but they did not even want to talk about it. What I mean is the Kashmir issue? Then the Siachin and kargil issue and water distribution issue. Once this is solved then our relationship with India will be the best. If Pakistan does not have anything to offer then India would not have bother to be have any friendship with Pakistan. In brief it come down to economics. Pakistan ruppee is half in value as of Indian rupee. You can buy goods at half price. Inflation will be reduced in India. Indians will buy goods cheap. Pakistanis will be buy Indian goods and save high frieght by importing from other countries. Indian movies already making business in Pakistan. India will save the expenses on the 700000 army in Kashmir. There can be lot of economic activity on both sides that makes lot of savings to both India and Pakistan. Recommend

More in Pakistan