India for meaningful ties with Pakistan, active engagement with world

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) India is prepared to have ‘meaningful’ ties with Pakistan if it curbs anti-India terror on its soil even as it seeks to enhance ties with major powers and continue its ‘active engagement with the world.’

‘India is ready to explore a meaningful relationship with Pakistan if Pakistan seriously addresses the threat of terrorism and takes effective steps to prevent terrorist activities against India,’ President Pratibha Patil said in her address to the joint session of parliament to open the budget session Monday.

Patil’s remarks came just a few days before Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao meet in New Delhi Feb 25 for long-awaited talks to break the ice that had developed in their bilateral ties since the Mumbai terror attack.

The president also said that India’s developmental assistance to Afghanistan’s reconstruction will continue. ‘India’s assistance to the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan witnessed important milestones and we will continue to partner Afghanistan in its development efforts,’ she said.

India is among the top five largest donor nations in Afghanistan, with its $1.2 billion aid programme, which include road construction, power and education projects.

Patil said India will work with the newly-elected Sri Lankan government to ‘enhance our partnership’ and offered rehabilitation assistance to the Tamil minority.

‘India will contribute to the humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts for the Tamil minority and long term re-construction in conflict-affected areas,’ she said.

The president said in the last 12 months there had been important visits from the neighbourhood by the king of Bhutan, the prime ministers of Bhutan and Bangladesh, the president of Maldives and the president and prime minister of Nepal which ‘have given new content to our traditional ties of friendship with neighbouring countries.’

ndia was also consolidating its relations with major powers, like the United States, Russia, Japan and China, to reflect the country’s growing international stature.

‘The prime minister’s visit to the USA laid the framework for the further expansion of the India-US partnership at the bilateral, regional and global level,’ Patil said in the hour-long address.

Similarly, she said that ‘strategic and cooperative partnership with China progressively acquired greater regional and global content.’ India and China have been coordinating strategies at multilateral events, chiefly during the WTO negotiations and recent climate change talks.

She pointed that ‘India’s voice was heard with respect’ in the G-20 process, the G-8 plus G-5 Summit, and the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The president articulated the government’s stance that it was engaging actively with all the important regions from South-East Asia, Central Asia, Gulf, Africa and Latin America.

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