India wants substantive talks with Pakistan: Report

Islamabad, Aug 20 — India remains interested in a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York next month, according to a media report Tuesday.

India wants substantive discussions with Pakistan in the backdrop of the recent tensions in Kashmir, the Dawn newspaper reported quoting diplomatic sources in Washington.

According to the report, Indian officials, during a recent visit to Washington, indicated that India remained interested in a meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan when the two leaders visit New York late September for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly meeting.

The sources in Washington told the newspaper that when Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon visited Washington last week, he told American officials that Singh still wanted to meet Sharif.

During the course of their visits, the two leaders are also expected to meet US President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai who will also be there at the same time.

Sharif will meet Karzai in Islamabad later this month.

However, it is still not clear whether Sharif will go to Washington to meet Obama or have the meeting in New York itself.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a recent visit to Islamabad, had invited Sharif to visit the US for a meeting with Obama.

According to the Dawn report, Obama is also supposed to have two meetings with Karzai, including a trilateral meeting involving the US, Indian and Afghan leaders.

The US hopes to make substantial progress in seeking regional cooperation for stabilising Afghanistan in the course of these meetings, the report said

Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Jeb Psaki told reporters in Washington Monday that the US “certainly continued to encourage further dialogue” between India and Pakistan.

She said this when asked to comment on the address by Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif to the nation Monday evening, his first since he assumed office in June this year.

The spokesperson said she had not seen the Sharif speech. But “our position remains the same that we believe that Pakistan and India can work through any issues through dialogue, and we encourage that to, of course, continue,” she said.

“And our policy on Kashmir has not changed,” Psaki said when told that Sharif had also described Kashmir as “a vital outstanding dispute which must be resolved” during the course of his speech.


Source: IANS

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