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Gilani hopes for positive Indian response

Islamabad: Pakistan is hopeful that India will respond positively to its "sincere" efforts for resumption of meaningful dialogue during the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the regional situation and India-Pakistan relations.

Referring to the forthcoming meeting between the Foreign Secretaries on the sidelines of a SAARC meet in Bhutan next month and a proposed visit by Pakistan`s Foreign Minister to India, Gilani said he hoped that India would respond positively and constructively during these parleys to "his government`s sincere efforts for resumption of meaningful dialogue".

The two Foreign Secretaries will meet for the first time since September last year to explore ways to take forward the bilateral peace process that has been stalled since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba.

Gilani told the German Foreign Minister that Pakistan believed its relations with India "should not be made hostage to one terror incident and India should resume the composite dialogue with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute, with Pakistan peacefully and expeditiously".

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said yesterday that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would "definitely" visit India if the Foreign Secretaries succeed in evolving a "comprehensive agenda for the resumption of the composite dialogue".

Qureshi, who was invited to New Delhi by his Indian counterpart S M Krishna in July last year, too has said he will go ahead with the visit only if it results in "substantial, meaningful and result-oriented talks".

The visit was originally scheduled for November last year but was put off several times due to the ongoing chill in bilateral ties.

India suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.

Since then, India has linked the resumption of the peace process to Pakistan taking action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and dismantling terrorist infrastructure based on its soil.

Pakistan has been insisting on a roadmap for future engagements on issues like the Kashmir dispute, the military stand-off on the Siachen glacier and differences on the sharing of river waters.

India has indicated it favours a phased approach, with terrorism being among the top priorities.

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