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Don't blame us for talks not moving ahead: Pak

March 04, 2010 18:09 IST

Pakistan on Thursday said it was not responsible for the lack of progress in the recent foreign secretary-level talks and the ball is now in India's court to respond to its proposals like participation of the political leadership in the dialogue process to normalise ties.

"We are not responsible," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said during a weekly news briefing, when asked who was responsible for the perceived deadlock in the foreign secretary-level talks which were held in Delhi on February 25.

He hastened to add that it would be incorrect to describe the talks "in terms of success or failure" but made it clear that it is now up to India to respond to Pakistan's roadmap for future engagements between the two sides.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir presented the roadmap to Indian leaders during meetings in New Delhi last month.

"We are not happy that India is not yet ready to come back to the composite dialogue process whereas Pakistan on Wednesday again said it is not interested in talks for the sake of talks," Basit said.

"There are proposals on the table and we will see how the Indian leadership responds to the roadmap which Pakistan suggested at New Delhi. It will be our desire that, for the sake of this region and peace between our two countries, India does revert to the dialogue process," he said.

Asked to give details about the roadmap, Basit said Pakistan wanted to move forward from meetings between the Foreign Secretaries and officials so that the political leadership of both sides could be part of the dialogue.

"At this point, India wants to engage with Pakistan only at the foreign secretary-level as well as to have other issues discussed at the working level, whereas we would like this process to go beyond that and also involve the political leadership on both sides of the border. So that in essence is the crux of our proposal," he said.

"If India agrees to our roadmap and to resume the composite dialogue without any pre-conditions, I think India will not find Pakistan wanting in this context. It is for India to respond to our roadmap proposal," he said.

Basit made it clear that there would be "no point" in engagements between the two sides if officials only met to reiterate their positions.

He also said he had no information on whether the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers would meet on the sidelines of a nuclear safety summit in the US next month.

"I do not know yet... I have not seen any proposal (for a meeting) as yet. So let's see how things evolve in the run up to the summit in Washington," he said in response to a question.

Replying to another question, Basit said Pakistan had nothing to worry over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Saudi Arabia and the strategic partnership between those two countries.
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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