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'Indo-Pak dialogue must shift to dispute resolution'

Source: PTI
June 21, 2007 23:13 IST
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Noting that the 'atmospherics' of its relations with India had improved, Pakistan on Thursday said time had come to shift to 'dispute resolution' mode, particularly on the 'core issue' of Kashmir.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said in Washington that his country had 'sincere desire to constructively' engage with India and President Pervez Musharraf's four-point proposal to resolve Kashmir issue was a manifestation of this.

Interacting with American experts, he said the relations between India and Pakistan had witnessed an improved due to the ongoing composite dialogue, whose three rounds have already been completed and the fourth is underway.

"These improvements notwithstanding, Pakistan continues to emphasise that there is a clear need to make progress on substantive issues between India and Pakistan," he said while talking on 'Pakistan's Role in Regional and Global Peace.'

"Now that the atmospherics have improved, the two countries need to move to dispute resolution, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," Kasuri said.

Kasuri said President Musharraf's 'bold and flexible' approach on dispute resolution and his four-point proposals to settle the Kashmir issue was a manifestation of the country's 'sincere desire to constructively engage with India.'

The proposals include demilitarisation of the state and grant of self-governance.

Explaining Pakistan's approach to promoting peace and development in South Asia, Kasuri talked about three-point proposal.

The first step is to engage in dialogue, particularly on Kashmir, second, restraint and security balance in South Asia and third, cooperation for economic development of the region, the Pakistani minister said.

He insisted that Pakistan is opposed to any nuclear proliferation or arms race in the region and adheres to a doctrine of minimum credible deterrence.

Accordingly, Pakistan has proposed a 'strategic restraint regime' to India, he said.

He said Pakistan has developed a strong command and control structure to protect its strategic assets as well as effective export controls to ensure against nuclear leakage.

Kasuri also said nuclear power generation was necessary to meet energy requirements of Pakistan's expanding economy and the country was prepared to accept all safeguards for its civilian nuclear power sector.
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