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Manmohan's statement matches our point of view: Pak

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
August 01, 2009 20:04 IST
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement favouring dialogue between the two countries and said it matched Islamabad's point of view.

Singh's statement, made earlier this week in the Indian parliament, was a "positive development", Qureshi said.

"It matches Pakistan's point of view and our federal cabinet issued a statement in support of this gesture," he told mediapersons in his hometown of Multan.

Intervening in a parliamentary debate on the Indo-Pak joint statement issued in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Singh said on Wednesday it was "in our vital interest to make sincere efforts to live in peace with Pakistan" and emphasised that India wanted good relations with the neighbouring country.

Responding to questions about India's acquisition of sophisticated weapon systems, Qureshi said Pakistan does not want to indulge in an arms race in the region but is "fully alive" to its defence needs.

Pakistan has confidence in its defence capabilities and nuclear balance exists in the region, he said. Qureshi said he would meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September.

Replying to another question, he said the Kashmir issue is a priority of the Pakistan government and a cornerstone of the country's foreign policy.

"It is one of the eight segments of the composite dialogue and the whole world recognises it as an issue that needs to be resolved," he said.

In response to a question regarding India's alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan, Qureshi said this is a sensitive issue and "diplomatic channels should be preferred to address it".

Issuing media statements on the issue will not be in the interest of both countries, he added. Dialogue should be preferred to resolve problems between India and Pakistan so that they could focus on socio-economic development, he said.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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