Islamabad: Foreign minister S.M. Krishna Friday underlined India’s commitment to dialogue with Pakistan on resolving all disputes between the two as he arrived in Islamabad on a three-day visit that could see the two South Asian nations sign a liberalised visa pact.

“I wish to reiterate the desire of India to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan living in peace with itself and the world. That would be in the best interest of everyone," Krishna said in his arrival statement.

“The leadership of India and Pakistan have mandated building of trust and confidence between our two countries," he said, referring to meetings between the Pakistani leadership and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “We are committed to finding solutions of all issues that have beset our relationship through peaceful bilateral dialogue, while we look to the future where our two countries are able to live together in an atmosphere of friendliness and all-round cooperation, free from terror and violence."

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at his office in South Block. Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo

Krishna’s talks in Islamabad with his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar on Saturday are billed as a stock-taking exercise that will review the progress made in the past round of official-level talks, covering subjects ranging from the six-decade-old dispute over Kashmir, ways to improve trade and commerce and demilitarising the Siachen glacier that is dubbed as the world’s highest battle field.

India and Pakistan resumed their peace dialogue in February last year after their four-year-old peace process was derailed by the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Since then, both sides have made progress in areas relating to trade and commerce with India, liberalising rules that will allow Pakistani businessmen to invest in its neighbour and both sides looking at opening branches of their banks in the other country.

Pakistan has liberalised trade with India by moving from a positive to a negative trading list and had promised to grant India most-favoured nation status by the end of this year to help boost commerce further.

In an interview to Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper published online on Friday, Krishna said. “I also hope to conclude a liberalized visa agreement, which will give further boost to people-to-people contacts" during the visit.

The pact is aimed at liberalising visa rules dating back to 1974 that will free Indian and Pakistan businessmen from have to report at police stations and increase the number of cities they can travel to in the other country. The pact has been finalised and readied for signature for a while but Indian officials say that hitches from the Pakistan side have held up the pact.

In the interview, Krishna also also he would be having discussions with Khar on a possible visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later this year. Singh had been invited to Pakistan by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in March last year and twice this year by Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari during their meetings in New Delhi in April and in Tehran last month. “I shall explore with... Khar the possibilities of what can be achieved to facilitate a purposeful visit of the Prime Minister," Krishna said.

Krishna also advocated the need for patience while proceeding with dialogue. “Given the complexities of our bilateral relations, we have to be patient as we move forward and build more trust and confidence in each other," he said in the interview.

He also indicated that there would be no let-up in the pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to book. “India has repeatedly stressed, including at the highest level, the need for an expeditious and successful conclusion of the trial in Pakistan relating to those involved with the Mumbai terrorist attacks," he said. India views that action on this would be a “major confidence-building measure, help in bridging the trust deficit."

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