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Polls over, India hopes to resume talks with Pak

Source: PTI
February 20, 2008 22:47 IST
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India on Wednesday welcomed the conduct of elections in Pakistan and said it would resume the composite dialogue as soon as a 'duly-constituted' government is in place in that country.

New Delhi hoped that the two countries will be able to resolve outstanding issues and build 'a mutually-beneficial relationship in an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism'.

The Indian government 'welcomes the fact that the people of Pakistan have been able to express themselves clearly in a democratic manner for their own future,' External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in New Delhi.

While noting that the elections were Pakistan's 'internal affair', the spokesman did not say anything on the outcome of the polls.

The government has been maintaining that India would deal with whosoever is in power in Pakistan constitutionally.

"India wishes to see Pakistan develop and prosper within a stable democratic order," Sarna added.

"As ever, the government of India stands ready to resume the composite dialogue process as soon as a duly-constituted government is in place in Pakistan," he said.

The composite dialogue, which was initiated in January 2004, witnessed a pause when President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency on November 3 last year, plunging the country into political turmoil.

The two countries had completed the fourth round of composite dialogue with the talks on Nuclear Confidence Building Measures in October.

The Foreign Secretary-level talks that were to be held at the end of the fourth round of composite dialogue to assess progress of discussions, however, could not take place due to political developments in Pakistan.

The peace process and composite dialogue witnessed a steady progress over these years with a number of CBMs being launched. Significant among these were the launch of cross-LoC bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, opening of crossing points along the LoC and start of truck service.

The dialogue process received a brief setback in 2006 also when terrorists carried out serial bomb explosions on Mumbai trains on July 11. India blamed Pakistan-based elements and indefinitely deferred Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled nine days later.

The process was, however, resurrected when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf met in Havana in September 2006 on the sidelines of the NAM Summit.

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