India ‘Realistic’ in Holding Talks with Pak: Govt Official

The forthcoming foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan will be a ‘standalone’ affair to build up a climate of trust for future talks, The Hindu reported citing a top government official.

The official said that India was being ‘realistic’ in going ahead with the meeting, for beyond a point, suspension of talks was likely to yield diminishing returns, said report.

“However, this talk is not aimed at resolving outstanding issues. We are fully conscious of the complexities involved in the process and are therefore adopting a nuanced approach to the dialogue,” the official was quoted as saying.

He said that terrorism against India remained ‘our core conern’ indeed and that the Pune blast had put this concern in sharper focus, said report.

He said that New Delhi was in fact clear that the talks did not signal the resumption of the composite dialogue put on hold following the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack:

“The Indian focus during the talks would be on terror. If Pakistan has other concerns, we are willing to address them. However, the future course of the dialogue would depend on how they respond to our concerns,” he was quoted as saying.

The official said that there were legitimate reasons, including a sharp domestic reaction, for putting talks on hold after Mumbai terror attack and that the strategy had paid good dividends, with situation reaching a stage where ‘not talking’ could become counter-productive, more so given Pakistan’s own vulnerability in dealing with terrorism, said report.

Pointing to the volley of provocative statements from across the border, among them the February 5 warning of Abdur Rehman Makki that Pune could be a future target, the official stressed the importance of dialogue in cooling tempers and restoring normality.

“We need to be sensible in the way we approach each other as we are both victims of terror. If anything, we need CBMs (confidence building measures) on terror,” the government official was quoted as saying.

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