Islamabad: India and Pakistan have not managed to put together a concrete list of issues to be discussed at their next dialogue even one month after foreign secretary’s visit here, the Indian High Commissioner has said, asserting that real issues including threat of terrorism needs to be dealt with.
Hoping that India’s ties with Pakistan would move forward from the current stalemate by the next SAARC summit, High Commissioner TCA Raghavan termed Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s visit as positive and said it provided opportunity to reflect on the discussions for moving forward.
During the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Islamabad last month, the two sides had decided to move ahead on the road towards resumption of their dialogue.
However, Raghavan rued that the two countries have not managed to put together a concrete list of issues to be discussed at their next bilateral dialogue even one month after the foreign secretary’s visit to Pakistan.
After a break in bilateral contacts over tensions along the Line of Control and the International Border, foreign secretary Jaishankar had visited Islamabad last month.
Addressing the seminar here organised by the private think-tank, Centre for Research and Security Studies, Raghavan yesterday said that SAARC conference next year will provide an opportunity to break the current impasse.
Referring to the issue of terrorism and extremism that continued to bedevil ties, Raghavan said: “Real issues need to be dealt with perceptions to change” and added that terrorism was the main issue which had soured the ties.
He requested the Pakistani government to take steps to tackle the menace.
Raghavan asked the audience to imagine the state of India-Pakistan bilateral ties if the Kargil episode of 1999 and the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008 had not taken place.
He rejected the parallels drawn by some quarters between 2008 Mumbai terror attack and Samjhauta blasts, saying while both were bad, the 26/11 was a case of cross-border terrorism, Samjhauta was an incident that happened inside India.
The High Commissioner said it was important for India and Pakistan to treat each other as trading partners.
“India recorded highest growth rates between 2004 and 2008, a period of relatively calm ties with Pakistan,” he said, adding that a peaceful and stable neighbourhood was a key for the growth of India.
He said that there were new sectors like hydrocarbons, health and medical tourism which can propel cooperation between the two countries.