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Good ties with Pak to benefit India: PM
Says trust deficit blocking progress, India ready to discuss all issues as long as Pak territory not used for anti-India activities
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today declared New Delhi’s firm resolve to normalise relations with Pakistan if the neighbouring country showed sincerity in tackling terrorism emanating against India from its soil.

“Pakistan is our neighbour. It is my firm belief that India can’t realise its full development potential unless we have the best possible relations with our neighbours and Pakistan happens to be the largest neighbour of ours,’’ he said at a packed press conference on the occasion of his UPA-II government completing one year in office.

The PM was asked by Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief of the Tribune, why he chose to resume dialogue at the foreign ministers’ level with Pakistan at his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in Thimphu last month and how confident he was of the passage of the Nuclear Liability Bill in Parliament and of tying up the loose ends on the landmark Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

Admitting that the task of improving ties with Pakistan was not an easy one, he stated that he and the Pakistani premier had agreed to remove distrust in bilateral ties when they met in Thimphu last month on the margins of the SAARC Summit.

“We agreed that the trust deficit is a major problem blocking progress in the direction of going forward and that it should be our common endeavour to reduce the trust deficit. That’s why we agreed that the foreign ministers should meet,” the PM said. “I am hopeful that this process can move forward. At least, that is the message that I got from talking to the Pakistan Prime Minister,” he said. On whether the two countries were discussing a deal on Kashmir




Shun gun, come for talks, J&K groups told

New Delhi: Ahead of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir early next month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered to hold dialogue with all groups in the state if they eschew the path of violence.

“I would once again like to appeal to all elements in Jammu and Kashmir that our government is ready for a dialogue provided that all these groups which are outside the political mainstream shed the path of violence,” he said at a press conference here on the occasion of UPA-II Government completing one year in office.

Describing J&K as one of the states of the Indian Union, the PM said he would review the pace of development programmes there and discuss with the state government how the process could be accelerated.

The PM is slated to pay a two-day visit to the border from June 7 during he is expected to hold consultations with various political parties in the state over the progress on recommendations made during the two sessions of the Round Table Conference chaired by him.

This will be his second visit to the state during his second term in office.

He had visited the state last in October last year. — TNS





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