New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Describing the foreign secretary-level talks as ‘an encouraging step’, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday told parliament that the future of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan will depend on Islamabad’s response to India’s ‘core concerns on terrorism’ which remains undiluted.
‘On Pakistan’s view that the composite dialogue between the two countries should be restored, we responded that the resumption of such a process would have to await the restoration of greater trust and confidence,’ Krishna told the Lok Sabha.
He was making a statement in parliament on talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan here Thursday.
The talks ‘represent an encouraging step towards restoring dialogue and better communication between the two governments,’ Krishna said.
‘The two foreign secretaries have agreed to remain in touch and continue this endeavour,’ he added.
Stressing that India has not diluted its position on terrorism, Krishna said: ‘India’s engagement with Pakistan will be predicated, as it has been since the Mumbai terrorist attack, on the response of Pakistan to our core concerns on terrorism.’
‘However, we do not dilute our position, or our resolve to defeat terrorism, as our prime minister has said, by talking to any country. Communication and engagement represent the best way forward,’ he added.
In their first formal talks since the Mumbai terror attack here, the two countries Thursday discussed a host of issues, including terrorism and Kashmir, but the stalemate persisted. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao gave her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir three fresh dossiers linking elements in that country to various terror attacks in India.
She also made it clear that the time was ‘not yet ripe’ for resuming composite dialogue till a climate of trust was created over India’s ‘core concern’ over terror. The talks ended with both sides promising to stay in touch, but no schedule for future talks was set.