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India to Pakistan: Talks have to be graduated

New Delhi, July 19 (Calcutta Tube) With Pakistan insisting on putting Kashmir on top of the agenda, India Monday made it clear that it was ready to talk about everything, but the process has to be a graduated one and it will continue to focus on cross-border terror.

Responding to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s remarks that he would not visit India for a ‘leisure’ trip, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that his invitation was for ‘serious’ discussions and made it clear that all issues cannot be ‘exhausted’ in just one sitting.

‘We have decided that we will talk everything but it has to be graduated talks between the two foreign ministers,’ he told Times Now news channel.

‘We just cannot in one sitting exhaust all the subjects regardless of how complex these subjects are,’ he replied when asked about Pakistan’s insistence that Kashmir and other issues like the dispute over Siachen glacier should be brought within the ambit of discussions.

‘They (Pakistan) seem to be very focussed on so many other issues as much as we are focussed on terror, terror-based instrumentalities and terror-based approach to solve any problem between our two countries,’ he said.

The talks between Krishna and Qureshi July 15 ended in a deadlock, with the latter accusing India of selectively focusing on terror and ignoring its vital concerns on issues like Kashmir. India has made it clear that it will go in for gradualist, incremental approach revolving around trust-building humanitarian measures before moving on to enlarge the scope of dialogue.

Krishna also rejected any third party mediation in bilateral issues between India and Pakistan. ‘The two countries are capable enough to talk to each other on the issue,’ he replied when asked about Qureshi raking up the Kashmir issue during his meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, who was in Islamabad for the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue, will meet Krishna in Kabul Tuesday on the sidelines of an international conference on the future of Afghanistan.

Krishna added that he did not know whether the time will permit him to talk to Qureshi in Kabul as he has scheduled bilateral meetings with Clinton and a few other leaders.

‘It is not even 48 hours since I came back from Islamabad or 52 hours may be. We have had meetings and there will be a number of occasions and there is a possibility of picking up from where we left,’ he said. ‘But, I would love to talk to him.’

Responding to Qureshi’s taunt Sunday that he will not visit for a ‘leisure trip’, Krishna replied ‘nobody is going to another country for bilateral talk for a walk or for a tour of for sight-seeing. I was in Islamabad and I did not do any sightseeing.’

‘So, whenever we confront each other or we will meet each other we always talk serious business about bilateral relationship,’ he said.

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