NEW DELHI – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan is not conditional on any ‘big takeaways’, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said and maintained that a ‘step-by-step graduated approach’ was the most realistic way of normalising ties between the two countries.
In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times ahead of his visit to Pakistan from September 7 to 9, Krishna said that for the dialogue to be ‘meaningful, comprehensive and sustained’, Pakistan must address terrorism-related concerns, including the Mumbai attacks case.
“I don’t think the Prime Minister is making his visit (to Pakistan) conditional on any big takeaways as you call it. All he is saying is that for a visit of such importance, the time and atmosphere have to be appropriate,” Krishna said.
When asked what he expects Pakistan, which has high praise for Singh, to do in order to prepare the soil for his visit, Krishna said “The Prime Minister has been very clear on this issue. He would like a well-prepared visit, which may have suitable outcomes.”
Though most Indian prime ministers have visited Pakistan, the two countries are unable to solve any of their core issues.
Pakistan has been insisting that India shouldn’t make the dialogue process and Singh’s visit conditional on the Mumbai attacks case or any other matter.
Answering a question on what’s next on the dialogue table, Krishna said at this stage “there is no proposal to raise the structured dialogue process to a ministerial level”.
Replying to various questions on the 26/11 case, Krishna said “We believe we have given more than adequate evidence to Pakistan to enable them to bring all the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice.”
“Given the complexities of the issues involved, we have to move forward by tackling the ‘doables’ first and at the same time continuing with our sincere efforts to resolve the more intractable issues.”