Normal Indo-Pak ties compelling necessity: Gilani

Davos: Hopeful of normalisation of Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has described it as a "compelling necessity" and said his Interior Secretary will soon visit India to take forward the talks on outstanding issues between the two countries.

During a meeting with Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Science, Ashwani Kumar, here on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Gilani expressed hope for normalisation of bilateral ties.

Kumar, who was here to attend the WEF as an Indian government representative, told PTI that Gilani also asked him to convey his greetings to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed the view that normalisation of relations between the two countries was a "compelling necessity".

Kumar said he told Gilani that the people of the two countries have for long yearned for peace and that the recent policy announcements on both sides to facilitate cross-border trade will strengthen the process of normalisation of ties.

During their meeting, Gilani said his Interior Secretary will soon visit India to carry forward the official negotiations on outstanding issues. The Minister also met Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who too are here to attend the summit.

Besides, Kumar participated in a debate on the challenges before the global economy, which was attended by Gilani, as also Prime Ministers of Thailand, Denmark and Finland, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, World Bank President Robert Zoellick and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurrea, among others.

Intervening during the discussions, Kumar expressed the view that the foremost challenge before all democratic governments was to ensure the accountability of political power in terms of satisfying the aspirations of the people and the basic needs of the vulnerable sections of the society.

He said the new media leaves little time for responding to popular movements and governments will need to proactively engage with the people at all stages so as to assess the popular perception in relation to key policy initiatives.

The Minister further said the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements testify to the resilience of democratic movements on the one hand and the fragmentation of power of the governments and capital on the other, which was a defining development of the decade.

He appealed for an inclusive agenda of growth with social justice and ensuring inter-generational equities at the core of governance.

Kumar also had a bilateral meeting here with the Swiss Federal Minister of Home Affairs, who was in-charge of Science and Technology, to explore ways and means to further expand the science and technology cooperation between the two countries.

Kumar said that Switzerland was looking for strong ties with India in the high technology and further areas of science, including bio and life sciences. Reciprocating the Swiss views, Kumar said, he has invited the Swiss minister to visit India at an early date and the invitation has been accepted.