Pakistan News

Ex-Indian minister urges Pakistan, India to hold talks

Ex-Indian minister urges Pakistan, India to hold talks

LAHORE: Former cabinet minister of India Mani Shankar Aiyar has advised both Pakistan and India not to discontinue dialogue, come what may.

“We should talk until we succeed,” said Mr Aiyar in his keynote speech at the launch of former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove,’ at a local hotel on Tuesday.

Stressing the need for starting a composite dialogue to solve all the outstanding problems, including Kashmir and terrorism, he said the issues between Pakistan and India were not so complicated that they could not be solved.

He said it was on record that the incidents of violations on the Line of Control (LoC) increased whenever the two neighbouring states stopped talks. There had been a surge in LoC ceasefire violations when talks at Agra, Sharm Al-Shaikh and Ufa remained inconclusive.

“Agra talks failed because there were not adequate preparations (on both sides). We were so close to the solution (at Sharm Al-Shaikh) but there was no proper homework. The Ufa talks remained inconclusive because these were initiated on the insistence of Russia and China. We have not given each other a chance to talk on a continuous basis. We have to work for uninterrupted dialogue to build our relationship,” said the former Indian minister while thanking Mr Kasuri for inviting him to visit his birthplace.

He said that good relations were in the interest of both the states. They would be instrumental in combating the biggest problem of terrorism both the countries had been facing.

“There are miscreants who use Pakistani soil for carrying out act of terrorism both inside and elsewhere. This should be recognised along with the fact that Pakistan had been the prime victim of terrorism in the region as thousands of its citizens have lost their lives in terrorism incidents,” said Mr Aiyar.

He termed Mr Kasuri’s narrative intricately balanced, with the author providing anecdotes, both personal and political, alongside his observations on serious issues.

Earlier, Mr Kasuri while giving an overview of his book said it had been an insider’s view of Pakistan’s foreign relations with details of Kashmir framework.

During the panel discussion, Mr Kasuri said he had never deviated from the stance on Kashmir at any forum. It had been the stance of almost every politician that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through bilateral dialogue.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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