India ready for ‘meaningful’ relations with Pakistan: Patil

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The government was ready to explore a ‘meaningful relationship’ with Islamabad provided Pakistan effectively curbed anti-India terrorist activities emanating from its soil, President Pratibha Patil said here Monday.

‘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,’ she said in her address to the joint session of parliament.

The president’s remark came as the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are set to meet in New Delhi to resume bilateral talks Feb 25. The talks are being held after a nearly 14-month freeze — since Nov 26, 2008 when terrorists attacked Mumbai.

India has been maintaining that Pakistan needed to destroy terror sanctuaries on its soil before the two countries could resume their composite peace talks.

Highlighting the government’s foreign policies, Patil said India would continue its reconstruction work in Afghanistan.

‘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.

The developmental efforts by India to help rebuild war-ravaged Afghanistan have stirred concerns in Pakistan. New Delhi has pledged $1.2 billion in aid to Afghanistan, making India the fifth largest donor nation to the country after the US, Britain, Japan and Canada. Neighbouring Pakistan does not even rank in the top 10.

Indian assistance includes projects vital to Afghanistan’s economy such as a completed road link to Iran’s border. India is also helping build a new parliament building in Kabul.

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