Indian PM says trust deficit biggest impediment in improvement of ties with Pakistan

19:56, May 24, 2010      

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that "trust deficit" between New Delhi and Islamabad was the biggest impediment coming in the way of improvement in bilateral relations with Pakistan.

"There has been a lack of adequate trust and trust deficit is the biggest problem (between the two countries). We are willing to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan. But it should ensure that its soil is not used for terrorism against India," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at his first media meet in four years in the national capital.

Claiming that India is willing to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan in the wake of the forthcoming dialogue between Foreign Ministers of the two countries, the Prime Minister said New Delhi "is going to make a beginning in improving the bilateral relations, which have seen a chill after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008".

"It has been my effort to try to reduce the gap between our two countries without surrendering or affecting our vital national interest. Pakistan is our neighbor. It is my belief that India cannot realize its full development potential unless we have the best possible relations with our neighbors and Pakistan is our largest neighbor," 77-year-old Singh said.

Stating that bilateral relations with Pakistan have not reached a level where India could raise the issue of the division of Kashmir, the Prime Minister said: "There are many issues that we are discussing with Pakistan. Talks could not reach that level to find solutions to the question asked by you."

India and Pakistan resumed official dialogue in February this year at foreign secretarial level. Indian and Pakistani PMs met in April in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu and they agreed to start foreign ministerial level meetings between the two countries in July.

Source: Xinhua


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