Pakistan ‘overreach’ thwarted talks, says Rao
India has said an ‘overreach’ by Pakistan led to the failure of the Foreign Ministry-level talks in Pakistan this July but has expressed confidence that this is not a setback for the peace process as New Delhi remains committed for a resolution of all outstanding issues through dialogue. Speaking at a seminar organised by the Jamia Milia Islamia in the Capital, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said while the talks were thwarted, both sides ‘appear to be committed to ensuring that the spirit of Thimphu is not lost’.
“Notwithstanding the cordial and frank exchanges, our efforts to bridge the trust deficit and pave the way for a serious and comprehensive dialogue were thwarted by a level of overreach by Pakistan that complicated the resumption of a sustained dialogue process,” the Foreign Secretary said, adding that the Pak Foreign Minister has accepted an invitation to visit India.
Underlining that there is an ‘engulfing’ trust deficit between the countries that needs to be bridged, Rao said efforts for peace will continue to fail unless both sides ‘show an unwavering commitment to stay the course’.
At the same time, Rao said India’s stance for a gradual approach to address the trust deficit is not an attempt to avoid tackling difficult issues but the sub-conventional conflict directed by Pakistan for over two decades cannot be ignored.
“India’s advocacy of an incremental, graduated and forward-looking approach that seeks to address the deficit of trust is by no means an attempt to avoid tackling of the substantive differences that trouble relations with Pakistan. While there can be no guarantees for success, such an approach seeks to build first on what is achievable and simultaneously to also address the more intractable issues in a sustained manner,” she said, adding that sub conventional conflict directed against India is as substantive and issue as Jammu and Kashmir and the Siachen glacier.
20/10/10, Indian Express)