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Progress in Indo-Pak ties not possible under 'the shadow of the gun': Nirupama Rao

June 24, 2011 - Islamabad

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Friday said that both India and Pakistan were aware of the complexities of the bilateral relationship, but firmly reiterated that progress in ties could not be possible under 'the shadow of the gun'.

Addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad with her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, Rao said: "In our discussions, we were guided by the vision of our two Prime Ministers to build trust and confidence by discussing various issues in an open and constructive spirit and in a forward looking manner."

"We have been fully conscious of the complexities of our relationship and the consequent need to take incremental steps to promote mutual confidence and understanding."

"In doing this, we are inspired by our goal of the eventual normalization of the India-Pakistan relationship and the resolution of outstanding issues through peaceful, serious and sustained, bilateral dialogue. The shadow of the gun and the violence it has unleashed has caused untold sufferings on our people in these years past. This needs to end," she added.

She said that the ideology of military conflict should have no place in the paradigm of Indo-Pak relationship of the 21st century.

"Instead, this relationship should be characterized by the vocabulary of peace, all round co-operation in the interest of our people, growing trade and economic interaction, as well as, people to people contacts - and all this, let me emphasize, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence," Rao said.

The Foreign Secretary also emphasized that the two-day bilateral talks were not an event in isolation, but part of a dialogue process, which aims at building greater trust between the two countries.

"We also took this opportunity to exchange views on preparations for the meeting of our Ministers of External/Foreign Affairs in New Delhi next month. This has been a positive meeting, and I thank Foreign Secretary Bashir and his colleagues for what has been a constructive and substantive discussions," Rao said.


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