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‘Talks with Pak to reduce distrust’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19
Tasked with the most important but unenviable task of resuming the dialogue with Pakistan, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna believes the challenge lies in reducing the trust deficit between the two countries. Krishna will be paying his maiden visit to Islamabad on July 15 to talk to his counterpart Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In an exclusive interview to The Tribune Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa, India’s External Affairs Minister said: “There is total distrust between the two countries. So we will have to attack the trust deficit first. The central theme of my visit is to make an effort to reduce the trust deficit and even eliminate it. I think if we succeed, something would be achieved.”

Asked what prompted India to shift its position from no talks till the terror issue was addressed by Pakistan, Krishna said: “When Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh met Prime Minister Gilani at Thimphu recently, the tone and tenor of Pakistan’s response created enough confidence in us that they were serious but had their difficulties. The two leaders felt the only way forward for settling all outstanding concerns was to get back to the negotiating table.”

Arguing for the rationale to resume the dialogue, Krishna said: “What are the alternatives open to India? Shall we wage a limited war, localized war or go after those suspected of the Mumbai attacks and make it a full scale war. Then what is going to happen to our sub-continent? Let us remember that we are two nuclear powers. So it was felt that it is necessary to begin talks all over again and we thought political level talks are more effective, productive and convincing.”





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