M A I N   N E W S

India committed to resolving differences
with Pak, says Natwar
Anil K Joseph

Qingdao, June 22
India was committed to resolve all differences with Pakistan bilaterally through negotiations and the higher-level meeting between the two foreign ministers here had paved the way to take the composite dialogue process forward, External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh said here today.

“We in India have always been committed to resolving all differences with Pakistan bilaterally and through negotiations,” he told PTI, a day after holding in-depth talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri on the sidelines of the just-concluded Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

“I had an extremely warm and productive meeting with my distinguished colleague, Foreign Minister Kasuri of Pakistan,” Mr K. Natwar Singh, who had invited Kasuri for a working lunch said.

“We had already established an excellent working relationship through our several telephone conversations earlier. Through this meeting, we have been able to further cement this process,” he added.

Describing his meeting with Mr Kasuri, the highest-level contact between India and Pakistan since the Manmohan Singh government assumed power last month, as “friendly and forthcoming”, Mr K. Natwar Singh said he and Mr Kasuri discussed various aspects of bilateral relations and how to take forward the dialogue process that was initiated in February.

Since February, he noted that India and Pakistan had useful meetings on a number of subjects, including on narcotics control between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers, and an expert-level dialogue on nuclear confidence building measures.

The meeting on nuclear CBMs, which concluded in New Delhi on June 20, resulted in agreements on establishing a number of CBMs to strengthen communication and also to work for further CBMs such as advance intimation of missile tests, the minister said.

India and Pakistan also jointly called for working-level meetings with all nuclear powers to discuss areas of concern, Mr K.Natwar Singh said.

The Congress-led UPA government also attached “high importance” to its relations with the US and was determined to enhance and diversify bilateral ties based on commonalities, Mr K. Natwar Singh said.

“India has consistently pursued an independent foreign policy. “Within this perspective, India will continue to attach high importance to its relations with the United States,” Mr K. Natwar Singh, who had just returned from Washington, said.

Mr K. Natwar Singh, who represented India at the state funeral of former US president Ronald Reagan, had also met his American counterpart Colin Powell and other US leaders.

“I had a very useful and extended interaction with Mr Powell and also met other US leaders,” he said.

Asked to comment on the India-China-Russia triangular ties, first proposed by former Russian Premier Yevgeny Primakov in 1998, he stressed that such ties were not directed at any other country or group of countries.

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