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Talks with Pak once Nawaz settles down: Khurshid
M Aamir Khan/TNS

Srinagar, June 28
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said talks with Pakistan will resume once Nawaz Sharif “settles down” as Prime Minister. He regretted the fact that the Indo-Pak dialogue process had suffered a setback in the past.

“The dialogue with Pakistan had gone a long way but due to certain circumstances our attempts got a setback and the process stopped. There is a democratically elected government presently in Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif had given certain signals during the election campaign and we have already congratulated him for that…. Let him settle down and understand his work… then we’ll move forward,” Khurshid told mediapersons on the sidelines of a function at the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) headquarters.

The External Affairs Minister, who arrived on a two-day visit to the state, said both countries had to move forward step by step before resuming a composite dialogue process.

“We have certain expectations and they (Pakistan) will have to move forward…. It won’t be apt to talk about this right now till the atmosphere gets more cordial… we can first begin with sectoral dialogue and work on confidence building measures and issues such as most favoured nation… and the new visa regime. We have to move forward step by step,” he said.

On the US-Taliban talks, Khurshid said: “Nobody, including the US, knows if the talks will go forward… but they are trying… and all have agreed that the talks should happen according to the wishes and control of Afghanistan, as it is their internal matter.”

He said US Secretary of State John Kerry had assured him that India’s concerns would not be overlooked during the future talks, if any, with the Taliban.

He also hoped that the “red lines” drawn by the international community would not be crossed during the peace talks with the Taliban.

Khurshid said the issues facing Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved through dialogue. “Problems are everywhere, not just in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

The minister said the issues facing the state were “internal matters” and “outside forces” need not meddle in the affairs of India.

He stressed that there was no physical war but a “battle of mind and heart” in Kashmir and urged the gathering, especially women, “not to be scared of anyone” and take part in the scheduled 2014 elections.

Khurshid also talked of narrowing down the “distances” between the Valley and the rest of the country. JKPCC president Prof Saifuddin Soz and other Congress leaders were also present.





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