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Even in times of terror, Indo-Pak talks must continue: Khurshid Kasuri

Kasuri and Aiyar both concurred that “talks between the two countries must continue, even in times of terror”.

Even in times of terror, Indo-Pak talks must continue: Khurshid Kasuri
Bilateral talks are the way forward to improve Indo-Pak relationship, Pakistan's former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said today, while asserting that even in times of terror, the dialogue process must continue. (Express photo)

Bilateral talks are the way forward to improve Indo-Pak relationship, Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said today, while asserting that even in times of terror, the dialogue process must continue. Addressing a seminar here, he also claimed that Indo-Pak ties can “never be on an even keel” and it can only “go up or go down”. “We (India, Pakistan) do not have the luxury of benign neglect. If our relationships don’t improve, they will deteriorate… And, we have no other option but to talk on peace bilaterally,” Kasuri said. The former foreign minister, who authored ‘Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove’ on the Kashmir issue, also said that there would be “problems” if the two countries continue to “ignore” each other. “God forbid, India and Pakistan, they ever confront, the traditional warfare between them can last for more than 17-20 days, and can cause incalculable damage, and destabilise each other. So, we must talk to each other,” he said. The seminar themed on Indo-Pak relations, hosted by the Centre for Peace and Progress, was also attended by senior Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Saifuddin Soz, PDP leader Nizamuddin Bhat and CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, among others, with the issue of Kashmir being raised by all participants.

Kasuri and Aiyar both concurred that “talks between the two countries must continue, even in times of terror”. They were referring to various terror incidents in the past and shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) that have in the past derailed talks on many occasions. Even during the Vietnam War, the main negotiators, Henry Kissinger (United States National Security Advisor) and Le Duc Tho (Vietnamese politburo member) continued to talk to each other, Kasuri said. Aiyar said that as far as Indo-Pak ties are concerned, “problems are immense, and we must look at each other’s perspectives”. “Instead of firing at each other, we must sit at a table and discuss,” he said. Kasuri, in a light-hearted remark earlier, said that many people in India thinks that “they (Pakistanis) are crazy or the Pakistani Army is crazy or Pakistan government is crazy. We are not crazy.” He also pitched for a more liberal visa regime for people of both the countries. He also praised former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former president of Pakistan Muhammad Ayub Khan for their contributions towards improvement of bilateral ties.

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