Dialogue with Pakistan only way forward: PM

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Ruling out any third party mediation in bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said dialogue was the only way forward with Islamabad but there could be no meaningful discussion till an end to terror from Pakistani soil.

Manmohan Singh also also said that the government’s decision to hold foreign-secretary level talks last was a ‘calculated’ one and stressed that India’s ‘policy towards Pakistan is consistent, cautious and realistic’.

The prime minister denied that he had sought any mediation by Saudi Arabia, and underlined that all problems with Pakistan could be resolved bilaterally if it adopted a ‘reasonable’ attitude in dealing with terror elements targeting India.

‘Whatever our problems in South Asia, we must learn to talk to each other,’ Manmohan Singh said. He was replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil’s address to both houses of parliament.

‘Dialogue is the only way forward,’ the prime minister said, adding that Pakistan must act against terror for a meaningful dialogue to progress.

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading disinformation, Manmohan Singh rebutted charges levelled by BJP leader L.K. Advani that the government was talking to Pakistan under US pressure.

Talks with Pakistan have not been initiated under US pressure, Manmohan Singh clarified.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao held talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here Feb 25. The talks focused on India’s concerns over cross-border terror emanating from the Pakistani territory.

Turning down Pakistan’s demand for the resumption of the composite dialogue process, India had made it clear that such a dialogue was possible only after a climate of trust was created and asked Pakistan to act against anti-India terrorists operating from its territory.

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