Talks with India only way forward: Pakistan

Islamabad, Nov 30 ( Talks with India are the only way forward for subcontinental peace, Pakistan said Monday even as it termed as “irresponsible” a statement by the Indian Army chief on the possibility of a limited nuclear war.

“All issues between Pakistan and India can only be solved through talks and India is aware of that,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters at the Chaklala Airbase in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi before leaving on a four-day official visit to Germany and Britain.

“Conflicts can only be resolved through talks,” Gilani maintained.

He also took objection to Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor’s Nov 21 comment in New Delhi that “a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a reality at least in the Indian subcontinent”.

“Such statements are irresponsible,” Gilani said.

Pakistan has previously said that Kapoor’s statement was reflective of “India’s dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine”.

India maintains that the composite dialogue process, frozen in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks can only resume after Pakistan brings to book the perpetrators of the carnage since Islamabad admits that the conspiracy was hatched in this country.

Four days ago, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Washington that his government would not rest till the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks were brought to justice and asked Pakistan to dismantle the terror infrastructure and all safe havens of terrorism.

The prime minister had stressed that since the conspiracy was basically hatched in Pakistan, it was its obligation to punish the masterminds of 26/11 attacks. A total of 166 people were killed and 244 injured when 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai and unleashed mayhem in the city Nov 26-29, 2008.

“It’s our strong feeling that the government of Pakistan can do more to bring to book the perpetrators and masterminds of the ghastly crime who move about freely in Pakistan,” Manmohan Singh contended.

There had been expectations that Manmohan Singh and Gilani would meet at Port of Spain on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This fell through after Gilani skipped the meeting, presumably due to the uncertain situation at home.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the Pakistani delegation in his place but there was no meeting with his Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, as New Delhi felt Islamabad had done little to address its concerns.