Public Diplomacy Public Diplomacy

Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Joint Media Interaction held in Islamabad during his visit to Pakistan

September 08, 2012

External Affairs Minister of India (Mr. S.M. Krishna): Excellency Mrs. Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister of Pakistan; my friends from the media; ladies and gentlemen:

Let me profusely thank the Foreign Minister of Pakistan for inviting me and my delegation to Islamabad. When she came to Delhi last year, we took a decision that the defunct Joint Commission has to be revived in order to further the bilateral relationship between our two countries. And I must commend the efforts, the positive efforts that the Foreign Minister of Pakistan has made in contributing for the revival of the Joint Commission sittings.

Yesterday I arrived here and then I called on the President and the Prime Minister. I had the privilege of calling on both of them and I conveyed to them the best wishes of our leadership and our desire for a peaceful and cooperative relationship with Pakistan.

Our discussions today, which were held in very cordial, frank, positive and productive manner, covered the entire spectrum of issues within the framework of the structured dialogue process. We drew inspiration from the commitment of the leadership of our two countries, and the desire of our two peoples to resolve all issues peacefully and build a relationship of trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.

We took stock of the current state of our bilateral relations. Given the complexities of the issues that we face, we are reasonably satisfied at the progress achieved in the last round of the resumed dialogue. We are also cognizant that there is a long way to go and the path ahead will not be easy; but we are committed to moving forward in order to write a new chapter of peace and cooperation in our relationship.

We agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security, and reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner so as to eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations. In this regard, Pakistan side reiterated its commitment to bring all perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice expeditiously in accordance with the due process of law.

The positive assessment of the direction and progress in the dialogue process is manifest in some of the following elements. The bilateral Joint Commission held its plenary after a gap of five years. The eight technical-level Working Groups of the Joint Commission held fruitful discussions in exploring mutual cooperation in areas including agriculture, health, education, environment, and science and technology.

Bilateral Visa Agreement was signed by Interior Minister, His Excellency Mr. Rehman Malik, and me today. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation between the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Pakistan National Council of the Arts was also signed today. We decided to convene separate meetings of the expert groups on nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures in New Delhi in the second half of December, 2012.

We reviewed the existing cross-LoC CBMs on travel and trade, and endorsed the recommendations made by the Joint Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs in its meeting in Islamabad on July 19, 2012. We have expressed satisfaction at the progress registered towards the full normalization of bilateral trade and economic relations, and reiterated the need for both sides to strictly adhere to the roadmap drawn by the two Commerce Ministers in this regard.

As people are at the heart of the relationship, we also discussed measures for promoting cooperation in various fields including facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments, and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

On the way forward, we agreed to the launch of the next round of Secretary-level dialogue on all eight segments. Schedule for these meetings will be worked out through diplomatic channels. We further agreed that all these meetings will be held prior to our next review meeting in New Delhi in 2013. I look forward to receiving the Foreign Minister of Pakistan in New Delhi next year.

Let me conclude by expressing my profound thanks to the President of Pakistan, and also His Excellency Rehman Malik, and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan for the wonderful gesture of releasing all the Indian fishermen in Pakistan custody; and I hope their boats and trawlers also will be released simultaneously.

Once again, Your Excellency, I thank you immensely for the courtesies that were extended to me and my Delegation. I was here two years back. I see a positive change in the atmosphere, and I would like to compliment the present leadership of Pakistan and the role played by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan in bringing about that changed atmosphere in Pakistan which augurs well for the relationship between our two countries.

Let us not look back, as you have very rightly said, let us not be held hostage to whatever has happened earlier. I think we will have to keep our sights to the future. Let us look to the future. Let us walk the talk together. Let us see that the new chapter which I spoke about is going to be mutually beneficial to both of us. And to this I dedicate myself and India, and I am sure that it will be helpful to both of us.

Thank you.

Islamabad
September 8, 2012



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