Normalising ties with Pak not easy: Nirupama Rao

Washington: India has made "sincere efforts" to reduce trust deficit with Pakistan with which it has a history of complicated relationship, a top Indian diplomat has said, as she expressed concern over "difficult terrain" ahead.

"We are engaged in a very conscious effort, a sincere and honest effort to try and see how we can reduce the trust deficit in our relationship with Pakistan in order to see how we can move towards coherent process normalisation. This is not going to be easy," Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said. "There is a lot of difficult terrain ahead. We recognise that. We are realist about it," she said in response to a question.

With Pakistan, its immediate neighbour, India has had a difficult, complicated and very fractious relationship for over six decades now, she said.

But she argued there is need for trade and business ties to grow and the travel between the two countries to be facilitated in a smoother way. "In the region of Jammu and Kashmir we have consciously worked on putting in place confidence building measures that enable trade across the line of control, better transportation facilities so that people can connect more easily," Rao said.

"But fundamentally, I think we have sought to stress and emphasise Pakistan that there is need for them to act on the issue of terror. It threatens to destroy the fabric of life in themselves today. I think they realise that very well."

The ambassador said the threat of terrorism is compounded given the possibility of intersection between terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. "We have been affected by clandestine nuclear proliferation in our neighborhood," she said.

"Today, India is constructively engaged in international efforts to enhance nuclear security. In the long term such threats can be met by universal and non-discriminatory disarmament – a cause that India has championed for many years," she said.

India, as the US sees it, has stood as an anchor of stability in this region, she said. Rao was delivering a keynote address at the Seminar "India as a Global Power: Contending Views from India" jointly organised by the Centre for a New American Security, in partnership with The George Washington University`s Rising Powers Initiative.

India basically wants to turn the geography in sub- continent into geography of hope. "We want to be able to integrate economically, allow benefits of our development and the accelerated development that we have been seeing in India to benefit our neighbors also. That`s the approach that we have taken," Rao said.