India hopes for renewed talks with Pakistan

Srinagar, June 28 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday expressed confidence for a renewed process of parleys with neighbouring Pakistan under the new regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khurshid stated that the new regime under Sharif in Pakistan has been sending positive signals for a renewed peace talks, which can spur a new wave of diplomatic ties between the two neighbouring nations.

"Under the democratic process, there has been a new government there. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made promises during his election campaign and after winning the polls to rule, he reiterated his statements. I feel that we have viewed this in a positive light and have responded to it, and also congratulated him on it," Khurshid told the media here.

"But first he needs to make his position secured and start his work there. After that, the talks can proceed. But there are certain issues, which our people and the government feel must be addressed and we feel that we would be satisfied in this regard. This can give a fillip to the talks," he added.

Khurshid also commented on the explorations of peace process in Afghanistan between the US and the Taliban. He stated that no such steps would be taken by the US that may harm the interests of India in the region.

"Right now, the US has not told if they are confident whether the talks would go ahead. It is their effort. When Kerry was here, he told us clearly that no such steps would be taken up that might harm our interests. This has been clearly assured by Kerry. There are red lines created which we also agree to, and now the participating party should adhere to the laws under the red lines, put down their weapons and also severe all links with the Al Qaeda," added Khurshid.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, earlier on Thursday said that there is no prospect of any agreement with Taliban unless they distance themselves from international terrorism.

"We certainly agree that there is no prospect for improving relations with the Taliban or, any agreement with the Taliban, unless the issue of terrorism is directly addressed," Dobbins said.

"We set as a pre-condition for beginning talks with the Taliban that they make a statement that at least (they) began to distance themselves from international terrorism. And they did so, they made a statement," he added.

Dobbins, who met Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on his arrival in New Delhi and discussed the peace talks process with the Taliban, said that Indian officials were anxious about the peace talks.

"Nobody knows how this is going to progress and certainly not a sure thing that it will result in a diminishing of violence and a successful evolution towards peace. But I didn't get a sense that they thought it wasn't worth trying. I don't really want to speak for the Indians right now," said Dobbins.

"However, I think they are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. From our standpoint, we are going into this process with open eyes and without narve of excessive expectations of rapid progress or even a certainty that their will be any progress at all," he added.

Dobbins maintained that India has an important stake in Afghanistan.

"I have come to Delhi and hope to be able to come back regularly because India has an important stake in Afghanistan and has important influence in Afghanistan. And it's important that we understand Indian views and obviously that India understands our views and then we collaborate as closely as possible, which I certainly did 10 years go, 11 years ago," he said.

Dobbins also said that improvement in relations between India and Pakistan will automatically improve the situation in Afghanistan.

"I think any improvement in India-Pakistan ties will automatically improve Afghanistan situation. I have met twice now in little more than two weeks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And my sense is that improvement in relations with India is very high on his list of priorities," he told the media in the national capital. (ANI)

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