Indo-Pak meeting ends on positive note
Concluding the talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, Indian External Affairs Ministers S M Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressed a joint press conference late on Thursday evening.
Qureshi said the talks took much longer than expected as the two ministers had lot to discuss.
The Pakistani minister said the two countries candidly discussed on all issues -- including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, economic opportunities, people-to-people contact, ways to sustain the dialogue -- "in a frank and candid manner".
He said both ministers had admitted that there had been progress in many areas, and the ways to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries.
He also said that both India and Pakistan were victims of terrorism.
"I explained (to Krishna) the change in mood in Pakistan and the changes we have undertaken in Pakistan," Qureshi said.
"We have to respect India's point of view and India has to understand Pakistan's point of view. Kashmir-related Confidence Building Measures were also discussed and how to built on it on what was achieved earlier," said Qureshi.
"It was a useful engagement and it will continue to meet in the future," concluded Qureshi, before Krishna began his address.
We had a cordial, frank and useful exchange of views, said Krishna.
"We have reviewed the state of bilateral relations and discussed steps to promote trust and confidence," he said.
"India desires a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pakistan," Krishna added.
He also said Qureshi had assured him that the territory of Pakistan would not be used against India and speedy trial of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
"It was a good and constructive discussion," said Krishna.
Qureshi has promised that Pakistan would pursue vigorously the leads given by India taking into account information provided by David Headley to unravel the conspiracy in the Mumbai attacks, said Krishna.
Image: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi with EXternal Affairs Minister S M Krishna in Islamabad
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
Krishna's peace parleys with Pakistan
While Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Joint Secretary in-charge of Pakistan in the Ministry of External Affairs Yash Sinha were part of Krishna's team, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Spokesman Abdul Basit were part of Qureshi's delegation.
The talks are the second between the foreign ministers since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead. They had earlier met in New York in September last year.
Image: Qureshi greets Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao during an informal dinner held for the Indian delegation
'Time has come for Pakistan to act'
Krishna had on Wednesday asserted that the 'time has come' when Pakistan needed to act on the 'overwhelming evidence' which was of 'irrefutable nature' and maintained that 'tirade' by jihadi leaders will not 'help smoothen' the relations between the two countries.
Maintaining that the trial of seven accused in the Mumbai attacks case in Pakistan, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, was moving at a slow pace, India has made it clear that it would like to see an expeditious and successful conclusion of the trial.
Image: Krishna with Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik (right) and High Commissioner of India to Islamabad Sharat Sabharwal (left) at the Chaklala Airport in Islamabad
Krishna's peace parleys with Pakistan
"I also look forward to receiving feedback on the issues raised by our Home Minister (P Chidambaram) during his visit to Pakistan last month on our core concern of terrorism, particularly in the light of the discussions our home minister had in Pakistan in the context of interrogation of David Headley regarding the Mumbai terrorist attack," Krishna said.
On Wednesday night, the two foreign ministers had held an informal exchange of ideas at a dinner hosted by Qureshi.
Image: Krishna addresses the media at the Chaklala airport in Islamabad
Focus on bridging trust deficit
As asked by their prime ministers, who met in Thimphu in April, the ministers primarily focused on ways to bridge the trust deficit and to enhance confidence by building on various humanitarian issues, including people-to-people contact, exchanges of prisoners and bilateral trade.
After his meeting with Qureshi, Krishna will call on Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.
Before leaving for home on Friday evening, the external affairs minister will meet delegations from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the Awami National Party and the Pakistan Muslim League of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Image: The bilateral meeting between the Indian and Pakistani delegations